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1 April 2009 | Printer friendly

UK publishes Children’s Environment and Health Strategy

The United Kingdom’s Health Protection Agency recently released a document detailing how the environment affects children’s health and what can be done to improve current conditions. This report is based on the World Health Organisation’s Children’s Environment and Health Action Plan for Europe (CEHAPE), in which participating countries from across the European Region agreed to develop plans to improve children’s health.

According to this new strategy, it is important that environmental health is addressed in the UK. Among the issues it points out are the sanitation level in schools, indoor and outdoor air pollution, social and economic inequalities leading to different exposures and the overall number of increasing chemicals and pollutants in the environment. It focuses on four specific goals that were established under CEHAPE:
- Water, Sanitation and Health;
- Accidents, Injuries, Obesity and Physical Activity;
- Respiratory Health, Indoor and Outdoor Air Pollution;
- Chemical, Physical and Biological Agents.

The report was developed in consultation with many experts and organisations as well as the views of children themselves.

The report offers several recommendations for improving the United Kingdom’s environmental impact on children. The need to reduce the levels of lead in drinking water was highlighted as were the importance of maintaining proper hygiene in schools’ water and making sure that the country’s poorest families are not forced to drink the worst water. The dangers of smoking and carbon monoxide poisoning should be better communicated, action plans for improving indoor air quality should be developed and local enforcement of clean air should be encouraged.

Other recommendations include better research on how much children are exposed to chemicals and what implications these chemicals might have, improving protection from natural and unnatural sources of radiation and protecting children from noise pollution.

The full report can be read on the Health Protection Agency’s website.

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