Student Well-Being

EPA Study Finds Children’s Health Outlook Mixed

By Darcia Harris Bowman — March 05, 2003 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shows reasons to be both optimistic and concerned about the health of American children.

“America’s Children and the Environment,” February 2003, is available from the Environmental Protection Agency. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

In “America’s Children and the Environment,” a document released last week that combines data from a number of federal agencies, the EPA touts “good news” for children, including a continued decline in the number of youths with elevated levels of lead in their blood and a reduction in children’s exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke.

The agency credits the removal of lead from gasoline and the phaseout of lead in paint for the 85 percent decline in the amount of the potentially toxic substance found in the blood of children between 1976 and 2000.

The report also points to modest decreases in children’s exposure to outdoor-air pollution and contaminants in drinking water.

Asthma on Rise

But not all the news is good.

Between 1980 and 1995, the EPA says, the percentage of children with asthma doubled, rising from 3.6 percent to 7.5 percent. In 2001, the percentage afflicted with the bronchial condition jumped to 9 percent, or 6.3 million American children. Recent studies show that the impact of air pollution on asthmatics is most serious among lower-income populations.

The report cites mercury exposure for pregnant women as another source of increasing concern.

It says about 8 percent of U.S. women of childbearing age have concentrations of mercury in their bodies at potentially dangerous levels for a fetus.

No such data were collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before now, so the EPA could not document an upward or downward trend for the mercury problem. But the potential risks to infants and children—damage to cardiovascular, immune, reproductive, and nervous systems—have already prompted the EPA to adopt a number of programs aimed at reducing mercury use and emissions.

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama
Student Achievement Webinar Examining the Evidence: What We’re Learning From the Field About Implementing High-Dosage Tutoring Programs
Tutoring programs have become a leading strategy to address COVID-19 learning loss. What evidence-based principles can district and school leaders draw on to design, implement, measure, and improve high-quality tutoring programs? And what are districts

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Well-Being Calif. Parents Who Knowingly Sent Child to School With COVID Could Face Penalty
The parents knowingly sent their COVID-19 positive child and a sibling to school, causing a coronavirus outbreak, officials said.
3 min read
Students walk past a social distancing reminder sign while heading to the nurse's office to be tested for COVID-19, during summer school at the E.N. White School in Holyoke, Mass., on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021.
Students walk past a social distancing reminder sign while heading to the nurse's office to be tested for COVID-19 during summer school at the E.N. White School in Holyoke, Mass., on Aug. 4, 2021.
Charles Krupa/AP
Student Well-Being Omicron or No, Schools Should Prepare for a Pandemic Winter
Here are answers to questions about the new strain, which is considered potentially more infectious than Delta.
4 min read
Leader holding telescope and looking ahead while on top of ladder leaning on a large virus pathogen
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Student Well-Being Opinion Want Students to 'Build a Better World?' Try Culturally Responsive Social-Emotional Learning
The practice includes expanding students’ networks and developing their awareness of what it feels, looks, and sounds like to manage emotions.
19 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Student Well-Being Opinion Social-Emotional Learning and the Perils of Teaching as Therapy
SEL risks overburdening teachers with responsibilities they aren’t trained for, compromising their ability to build academic skills.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty