Children must be recognized as a sensitive population based on having biological systems and organs in various stages of development.
The processes of absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination of environmental contaminants within a child’s body are considered less advanced than those of adults, making them more susceptible to disease outcomes due to environmental pollution at birth and growing stage.
In 1993, the National Academy of Sciences reported children and especially infants in the womb are profoundly different from adults in how they are harmed by exposure to pesticides and other chemicals. The academy’s committee on pesticides in the diets of infants and children concluded that children are not merely little adults. They are uniquely sensitive, and keeping them healthy requires special protections.
Exposure to even low levels of toxic chemicals during pregnancy and in the first years after birth can damage children’s brains and other developing organs, leading to increased risk of learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, autism and breathing and reproductive problems.
Laws and regulations aimed at protecting adult health do not protect children. The academy committee urged that federal pesticide law be fundamentally restructured to shield infants in the womb and young children from chemical harm.
Since then, Congress has passed two laws that contain explicit provisions protecting children’s health, one of them, the Food Quality of Protection Act of 1996, directed the EPA to impose a child-protective safety benchmark in