Environmental Dangers: What You Should Know

Parents advisor and environmental-health expert Dr. Philip Landrigan discusses environmental hazards and how they can affect your family.

What environmental issues are most important?

A. I think there are three pressing concerns: air pollution, pesticides, and lead. Air pollution is especially threatening to children who live near major highways and in congested urban areas. Pesticide exposure is an issue for every child. In cities, chemicals are used to control roaches and vermin; in the suburbs, they're used on lawns; and in farming areas, they're used to protect crops. Lead dangers tend to be most prevalent in the upper Midwest and the Northeast, where many old homes still contain lead paint. People tend to think of lead poisoning as an inner-city issue, but the fact is about 15 to 20 percent of cases occur among well-to-do suburban families who renovate their homes.

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