Children's Health and the Environment

Updated October 2008

A growing body of evidence, including rising developmental disability and asthma rates, indicates that children are more sensitive than adults to environmental contaminants. Children breathe more air, drink more fluids, and eat more food in proportion to their body weight than adults. Environmental exposures that would not harm an adult can cause permanent damage to the developing body of a child.  States may be required to update environmental standards to comply with retooled federal regulations. Currently, most state and federal regulations are based on adults, only within the last few years has state legislation been passed to take children's special vulnerabilities into account.

NCSL Publications

New itemChildren's Health and Environment Fact Sheets



Air Quality


Developmental Disabilities

PDF Legislative Summary 2004





State Health Lawmaker's Digest "Children's Environmental Health," 2001


Environmental Health Series "Asthma, A growing Epidemic" 2000


"Lead Screening for Children Enrolled in Medicaid: State Approaches," Promising
Practices Issue Brief



Children's Environmental Health Legislation Database


National Center for Environmental Health - Part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the center is especially committed to safeguarding the health of populations that are particularly vulnerable to certain environmental hazards-including children. They work to promote optimal fetal, infant, and child development, including preventing birth defects and developmental disabilities.
Children's Environmental Health Network - A national interdisciplinary project dedicated to protecting the fetus and the child from environmental health hazards.

Office of Children's Health Protection - An office of the U.S. EPA that deals with the regulatory and science aspects of children's health protection.

  • Children's Environmental Health -- 2008 Highlights (October 2008)
Lead Hazards Project - NCSL's site on lead hazard issues.


Doug Farquhar, Program Director 
(303) 856-1397

NCSL Environmental Health Page 

NCSL Calendar and Events Page