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Pollution is a Major Cause of Death in Young Children

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports pollution is a major cause of death in young children.
WHO’s new study finds that unhealthy environments are responsible for up to 25 percent of deaths in children younger than age 5. A March 2017 report lists outdoor and indoor environmental risks that lead to premature death in approximately 1.7 million children worldwide annually. This report is the second edition of Inheriting a Sustainable World? Atlas on Children’s Health and the Environment, available at www.who.int/ceh/publications/inheriting-a-sustainable-world/en.

The main message emerging from this new, comprehensive global assessment is that, to a significant degree, premature death and disease can be prevented through healthier environments.

A companion report, Don’t Pollute my Future! The Impact of the Environment on Children’s Health, is available at www.who.int/ceh/publications/don-t-pollute-my-future/en. The report provides a comprehensive overview of air, water and environmental hazards that affect children’s health by contributing to such problems as respiratory infections and asthma, as well as increasing their lifelong risks of diseases. WHO finds most of these environmental risks are preventable with proper interventions
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WHO notes the most important environmental risks related to respiratory infections are household air pollution from exposure to smoke from cookstoves, ambient air pollution, and secondhand tobacco smoke. Children particularly are vulnerable to air pollution, hazardous chemicals and climate change, as well as inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene. EPA works to ensure a safe, healthy and protective environment for all children to grow and develop normally and healthily; read more at www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/health-energy-efficiency-and-climate-change and www.epa.gov/children.

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