For many children, their personal world is often small, limited to their home, school, the street outside, play areas, and the homes of their extended family. But these places can also put children, from an early age, at risk from environmental dangers – and these risks are increasing.
Generations of children have suffered from certain ‘basic’ risks existing in their environments. These are unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation, indoor air pollution, insufficient food hygiene, poor housing and inadequate waste disposal.
Today’s ‘modern’ risks result from the unsafe use of dangerous chemicals, the inadequate disposal of toxic waste and other environmental hazards, noise and industrial pollution. Unsafe chemicals in toys and household products may also harm children.
‘Emerging’ potential environmental threats to health include global climate change, ozone depletion, contamination by persistent organic pollutants and chemicals and other hazards, and emerging diseases.