There are growing concerns about infant, child and adolescent health, with the increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as obesity, neurodevelopmental diseases and allergies. In modern society, humans are exposed to a wide variety of environmental contaminants across the life course, starting before conception and extending through foetal development, infancy, childhood and adolescent to adulthood.
The early stages of human development are particularly sensitive to the impacts of pollutants, which can interact with the process of developmental plasticity. Toxicant exposure may induce disease in later life. However, these issues are rarely perceived as mainstream among medical society.
Currently, the health effects on foetuses and children from environmental exposure to pollutants are not well recognized in medical society. Therefore, awareness needs to be raised among key groups of health workers, through tailored information based on WHO materials. The proposal and concept for the development of the information sheets arose from a series of expert meetings that WHO convened over 2015 – 2018 about pollution and children’s environmental health.
WHO information slides for the health sector: what every community health worker needs to know about children’s environmental health