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Children are more vulnerable to toxic exposure from cleaning chemicals

Millions of poison cases are reported each year, and more than half of the victims are children. Many of these poisonings are the result of accidental ingestion of and/or contact with household chemical cleaners commonly found in just about every home.

According to the EPA most studies in the past that have established toxicity have been done on adults.
However, children are at an even higher risk.

Their nervous, respiratory, reproductive, and immune systems aren't fully developed so their ability to detoxify and excrete toxins differs from that of adults. Developing cells in children's bodies are more susceptible to damage than cells that have completed development, especially for the central nervous system. They drink more water, eat more food, and breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults. Children put their hands in their mouths more often than adults do and transfer more foreign substances into their bodies. They are smaller and often play in the dirt or on the floor so they are closer to pollutants which adults aren't exposed to. Children absorb a greater proportion of many pollutants from the intestinal tract and the lungs.

Because they are exposed to toxicants at an earlier age than adults, children have more time to develop environmentally triggered diseases with long latency periods, such as cancer.

• 51% of human exposures to poison in 2006 involved children under 6 years old1

• Household cleaning substances are the second most common reason for pediatric exposure to poison1

• Unintentional ingestion of toxic household chemicals is associated with an annual average of 39 deaths to children under age 5, and an estimated 87,700 children treated in hospital emergency rooms. The estimated societal costs of almost $2.3 billion for these poisoning incidents.2




1Bronstein, Alvin C., Spyker, Daniel A., Cantilena Jr, Louis R. Green, Jody, Rumack, Barry H. and Heard, Stuart E. (2007) '2006 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers' National Poison Data System (NPDS)', Clinical Toxicology, 45:8, 815 - 917 available in pdf here

2U.S. CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION "2007 Performance and Accountability Report" 2007, available at:
http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/reports/2007par.pdf

 

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