January 2006

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Cooperative Services News

The National Children’s Study

by Lynn Olson, Cooperative Services Manager

Dr. Phil Landrigan, keynote speaker at the annual Wisconsin Environmental Health Conference, detailed the upcoming National Children’s Study set to begin tracking 100,000 children from before birth to age 21 in order to uncover the effects of environmental influences on the health and development of children in the U.S.
Since 1950, over 80,000 commercially used substances have been introduced into our environment with little or no publicly available research or information on their effects on human or global health. The organizations coordinating this study—the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—announced the six U.S. test-sites in September 2005, with Waukesha County, WI among them. The other cluster sites in New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Utah and California will gather information to provide much-needed data for assessing the long-term effects of toxins in our environment.

Factors to be collected and considered will include family genetics; constructed world of neighborhoods and schools; chemical exposure linked to atmosphere, food or water supplies; and the social and behavioral environment in which the children grow and develop.

Laying out the national statistics, Dr. Landrigan, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, explored the current effects on children exposed to toxins and the eventual impact on their health, economic status and impact on community. Based on their size and proximity to the ground, children are most susceptible to environmental toxins and more information is needed to support steps to curb their exposure.

It is hoped that the information collected will begin to track a link between all forms of asthma, developmental disabilities, endocrine disruption and the rising incidence of certain pediatric cancers. (For more information on the National Children’s Study, log onto:

The Conference, held in Madison this December, provided several good listening opportunities for assessing the state of our state and how our public health officials are addressing our environmental health needs.