FACTORS LEADING TO IMPAIRMENT AND BEST PRACTICES TO REDUCE HAZARDS FOR SPECIAL ENVIRONMENTS
The home environment is discussed in various sections of this presentation. It is listed separately here to give the reader a better understanding of the total picture of exposures to a variety of hazards that children face in their daily lives. One of the major concerns of the home environment is childhood asthma which will be discussed below.
FACTORS LEADING TO IMPAIRMENT AND BEST PRACTICES FOR CHILDHOOD ASTHMA
(See the endnotes 3, 5, 8, 40, 41)
Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways carrying air to the lungs. The airways become constricted and the linings become swollen, irritated, and inflamed. The developing lung is a special target of environmental contaminants. The disease is caused by a combination of exposure to allergic substances, environmental substances, infections and a genetic predisposition, and is found more frequently in areas of lower socioeconomic conditions. The triggers for the disease may be allergens and/or environmental conditions, including tobacco smoke, ozone, sulfur dioxide, inorganic acids, particulate matter, dust, molds, pollen, roaches, etc. Children, because of their unique physiology and behavioral traits, react to much smaller doses of various asthma triggers than adults. The condition, which has reoccurring episodes, can range from mild to life threatening and is more prevalent in African-American children than white children. Asthma, which affects over 9 million children and is very costly, is the most common chronic disorder of childhood. It is on the increase, with outdoor air pollution and indoor air pollution being major factors. Immediate medical care and environmental management by removal of triggers are absolutely essential.