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Improving Kids’ Environment

Chips off the Old Block: How a Father’s Preconception Exposures Might Affect the Health of His Children

Charles W. Schmidt
Environmental Health Perspectivess
February 2018

Scientists have long known that when it comes to harm from environmental exposures, the youngest children often face the greatest risk.1 Chemicals and pollutants that pass through a woman’s placenta into her fetus can interfere with the child’s normal development and cause health effects lasting into adulthood.2 Newer research is examining the role a woman’s prepregnancy exposures may have on the fetus. What has gotten far less attention, however, is how the biological consequences of a father’s environmental exposures before conception might affect his unborn children.

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Healthy Homes

For children, their home is where they feel safe. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. The home can have hidden hazards that threaten a child’s health. One of our key visions is to have every child live in a environmentally safe home. Was your home built before 1978? If yes, you need to learn about lead before you repair or renovate. Click the button below to learn more about health hazards in your home.

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Children are more susceptible to environmental threats than adults. With equal exposure, children's bodies become more heavily concentrated than that of adults due to higher respiratory rates and smaller body sizes. And where do young, developing people spend a large portion of their school-age years? That's right: at childcare and school. That is why Improving Kids' Environment works to make school and childcare facilities as healthy as possible.

Healthy Communities

Our health often depends on living and working in a healthy community. A healthy community has clean air, clean water and clean soil. Children can live and play there without fear of exposure to toxic chemicals. Across the country, children are facing serious medical problems as a result of living in unhealthy built environments because poorly designed neighborhoods and buildings, roads, and sidewalks that do not foster health, according to the American Public Health Association (APHA).