Children’s Environmental Health

Children may get sick more easily from harmful chemicals in the environment. Learn how you can limit your child’s contact with harmful chemicals in water, food, and air.

Pesticides

Pesticides are chemicals that are used to kill unwanted things like insects, weeds, rats, and more. You can find pesticides in products like bug sprays and cleaning products. Some pesticides can cause health problems, especially in children. Learn how to protect your child from pesticides on our Protecting Your Child from Pesticides page.

Lead Poisoning

Lead is a natural metal that has been used in many products. Lead can be in air, water, food, and inside our homes. Most lead can be found in paint in old homes but there are also other sources of lead. Small amounts of lead can build up in the body and cause lifelong learning and behavior problems. We call the buildup of lead in the body lead poisoning. Find out how to prevent lead poisoning in your child on the Orange County Health Care Agency’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program webpage.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas. Cars, gas stoves, and some heating systems can make fumes that have carbon monoxide in it. These fumes can build up in places where the air flow is not good. Carbon monoxide poisoning happens when you breathe in too much carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause health problems and death. Read recommendations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on how to protect your child from carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Mercury in Fish

Fish is a food that is healthy for both children and adults. However, many fish have some mercury in them. Mercury is a metal that can cause health problems in people, especially babies and children. If a woman is exposed to a lot of mercury while she is pregnant or breastfeeding, it can cause health problems for her and the baby. Read recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on guidelines for pregnant women. Children who eat a lot of fish with mercury can also have health problems. View recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)  on how to protect children from contaminated fish.

Avoid eating fish with high levels of mercury like:

  • Shark
  • King Mackerel
  • Tilefish
  • Swordfish

Fish with low levels of mercury are OK to eat like (only eat up to 12 ounces per week):

  • Shrimp
  • Salmon
  • Pollock
  • Catfish
  • Canned light tuna
  • Albacore (white) tuna – Don’t eat more than 6 ounces of this tuna in 1 week

Poison Control

There are a lot things in your home that could be poisonous for your child. Some of these things are medicines, cleaning products, alcohol, and antifreeze. Children are more at risk for poisoning because they like to put things in their mouths. It is important to keep dangerous things out of reach of children. Read recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on how to protect your child from poisoning. If you think your child has been exposed to a poison, call 9-1-1 or California Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.

Drinking Water

Children drink more water for their size than adults. Drinking water in the United States is very safe because of our laws. Sometimes, there can be problems when there are violations in the laws. View recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on how to make sure drinking water is safe for you and your family.

Sun Safety

It is good for children to spend time playing and exercising outdoors. It is also important to protect your child from the sun when they are outside. View recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on how to protect your child from too much sun.



Page Last Updated: November 10, 2016