|In contrast to
adults children represent a particularly vulnerable group because their
bodies and physiological systems are undergoing substantial growth and
development. Starting from in utero
to adolescence there are numerous periods of cell proliferation and tissue
differentiation representing critical windows of vulnerability. These are the times when it is most likely
that toxic exposures might have permanent effects.
physiological systems also mean that children are particularly
ill-equipped to handle toxic contaminants.
They absorb more contaminants from their environment and their body
defenses lack the functionality to properly excrete or de-toxify such
|There are also
key behavioural differences between children and adults at every stage
prior to maturity that influence the exposures of the young. They play closer to the ground and explore
their environment using all their senses.
They have particular food preferences.
They spend more time indoors but are also very active when they play
more often passively exposed since they cannot protect themselves but depend
on adults for their protection.
|To use the term
coined by Lynn Goldman a former U.S. EPA scientist, children have longer
shelf-life. They have more years of
life ahead of them during which the effects of environmental exposures may
|For many of
these reasons, we cannot always extrapolate from our knowledge of the effects
of contaminants in adults to understand how they will affect children’s