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Special Issue "Children's Environmental Health"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Deborah Read
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Co-Director, Environmental Health Indicators Programme, Massey University, PO Box 756, Wellington 6140, New Zealand
Interests: environmental health; environmental health indicators; public health surveillance

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Environmental exposures can affect the growth and development of a child from early intrauterine life through to adolescence, as well as impact health later in adulthood.

Children are susceptible to many environmental hazards due to their physiology and behaviour. The first one thousand days of life, the period between conception and a child’s second birthday, are also critical when the foundations for lifelong health and well-being are laid. The environment affects this period of rapid development through many exposure pathways.

Children under five years of age are disproportionately affected by environmental hazards. According to the WHO, in 2012, 26% of deaths and a quarter of disability-adjusted life years among children under five years of age were attributable to environmental causes. Children from low-income countries and low-income communities within countries are also disproportionately affected.

Mitigating climate change and reducing adverse environmental exposures, by, for example, improving air and water quality, safely storing hazardous substances, safely disposing of hazardous waste, and making roads safer, can prevent poor health. There is a need for environmental justice and strategies to prevent and control diseases and injuries of environmental origin in children.

Papers addressing these topics are invited for this Special Issue.

  • Children’s environmental health
  • Environment and child health
  • Vulnerable populations
  • Health equity
  • Child disorders of environmental origin
  • Child health surveillance
  • Determinants of child health

Prof. Dr. Barry Borman
Prof. Dr. Deborah Read
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
Blood Mercury Levels in Children with Kawasaki Disease and Disease Outcome
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3726; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17103726 - 25 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1165
Abstract
The risk of ethnic Kawasaki disease (KD) has been proposed to be associated with blood mercury levels in American children. We investigated the blood levels of mercury in children with KD and their association with disease outcome. The mercury levels demonstrated a significantly [...] Read more.
The risk of ethnic Kawasaki disease (KD) has been proposed to be associated with blood mercury levels in American children. We investigated the blood levels of mercury in children with KD and their association with disease outcome. The mercury levels demonstrated a significantly negative correlation with sodium levels (p = 0.007). However, data failed to reach a significant difference after excluding the child with blood mercury exceeding the toxic value. The findings indicate that KD patients with lower sodium concentrations had a remarkably higher proportion of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) resistance (p = 0.022). Our patients who had lower mercury levels (<0.5 μg/L) had more changes in bacille Calmette-Guerin. Mercury levels in 14/14 patients with coronary artery lesions and 4/4 patients with IVIG resistance were all measured to have values greater than 1 μg/L (while average values showed 0.92 μg/L in Asian American children). Mercury levels had no correlations with IVIG resistance or coronary artery lesion (CAL) formation (p > 0.05). CAL development was more common in the incomplete group than in the complete KD group (p = 0.019). In this first report about mercury levels in KD patients, we observed that the juvenile Taiwanese had higher mercury concentration in blood compared to other populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children's Environmental Health)
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Article
Association between Passive Smoking from the Mother and Pediatric Crohn’s Disease: A Japanese Multicenter Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(8), 2926; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17082926 - 23 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1206
Abstract
Smoking is a risk factor for adult-onset Crohn’s disease (CD). Although passive smoking from family members is a major concern, especially in pediatric CD, the number of existing epidemiological studies is limited. This multicenter case–control study aimed to assess the effects of familial [...] Read more.
Smoking is a risk factor for adult-onset Crohn’s disease (CD). Although passive smoking from family members is a major concern, especially in pediatric CD, the number of existing epidemiological studies is limited. This multicenter case–control study aimed to assess the effects of familial smoking on pediatric CD. We examined 22 pediatric CD cases and 135 controls. The subjects’ mothers were given a self-administered questionnaire about family smoking before disease onset in the CD group or the corresponding period in the control group. Univariable logistic regression model was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), whereas dose–response relationship analyses were performed for more in-depth evaluations. Univariable analyses indicated that passive smoking from the mother (OR, 2.09; 95% CI, 0.61–7.10) was not a significant, but a candidate risk factor for developing pediatric CD. In contrast, the dose–response relationship analyses revealed that passive smoking from the mother (OR, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.04–1.31) was significantly associated with pediatric CD. Therefore, passive smoking from the mother may be predominantly associated with the development of pediatric CD. Further follow-up studies comprising environmental measurements of passive smoking exposure doses and genetic factors interaction analysis are necessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children's Environmental Health)
Article
Micronucleus Frequency in Exfoliated Buccal Cells of Children Living in an Industrialized Area of Apulia (Italy)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(4), 1208; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17041208 - 13 Feb 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 963
Abstract
Micronuclei (MN) are biomarkers of early biological effect often used for detecting DNA damage in human population exposed to genotoxic agents. The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency of MN in exfoliated buccal cells of children living in an industrialized [...] Read more.
Micronuclei (MN) are biomarkers of early biological effect often used for detecting DNA damage in human population exposed to genotoxic agents. The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency of MN in exfoliated buccal cells of children living in an industrialized (impacted) area compared with that found in children living in a control area without significant anthropogenic impacts. A total of 462 6–8-year-old children (206 in the impacted area, 256 in the control area) attending primary school were enrolled. A questionnaire was administered to the parents of the recruited children to obtain information about personal data, lifestyles, and food habits of their children. Atmospheric particulate fractions were collected near the involved schools to assess the level of environmental exposure of the children. The presence of MN was highlighted in 68.4% of children living in the impacted area with a mean MN frequency of 0.66‰ ± 0.61‰. MN positivity and frequency were significantly lower in the control area (37.1% and 0.27‰ ± 0.43‰, respectively). The frequency of MN was positively associated with quasi-ultrafine particulate matter (PM0.5), traffic near the home, and consuming barbecued food; while adherence to the Mediterranean diet and practicing sport were negatively associated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children's Environmental Health)
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Article
Intestinal Parasites, Anemia and Nutritional Status in Young Children from Transitioning Western Amazon
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 577; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020577 - 16 Jan 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1353
Abstract
Young children are particularly vulnerable to the chronic sequelae of anemia, including poor nutritional status. The aim of this study was to assess intestinal parasitic-infections and nutritional status (anemia and linear growth) in preschool children living in contemporary Amazonian communities. A cross-sectional study [...] Read more.
Young children are particularly vulnerable to the chronic sequelae of anemia, including poor nutritional status. The aim of this study was to assess intestinal parasitic-infections and nutritional status (anemia and linear growth) in preschool children living in contemporary Amazonian communities. A cross-sectional study measured children’s intestinal parasites and hair-Hg (HHg)—biomarkers of fish consumption, hemoglobin levels, and growth (anthropometric Z-scores). Children came from traditional-living families (Itapuã), and tin-mining settlements (Bom Futuro) representing current transitioning populations. It covered 937 pre-school children (from 1 to 59 months of age) from traditional (247) and immigrant tin-mining families (688). There was a high prevalence of intestinal polyparasitic-infection in children from both communities, but mild anemia (hemoglobin concentrations) and moderate (chronic) malnutrition were more frequent in children from traditional families than in children from tin-mining settlers. Children from traditional families ate significantly more fish (HHg mean of 4.3 µg/g) than children from tin-mining families (HHg mean of 2.3 µg/g). Among traditional villagers, children showed a significant correlation (r = 0.2318; p = 0.0005) between hemoglobin concentrations and HHg concentrations. High rates of parasitic infection underlie the poverty and attendant health issues of young children in the Brazilian Amazon. The intestinal parasite burden affecting poor Amazonian children resulting from unsafe water, lack of sanitation and poor hygiene is the most urgent environmental health issue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children's Environmental Health)
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Article
Associations between Environmental Tobacco Smoke Exposure in Early Life and Astigmatism among Chinese Preschool Children
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(19), 3725; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph16193725 - 03 Oct 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1216
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the association between environmental exposure to tobacco smoke (ETS) during early life and astigmatism in Chinese preschool children. In this cross-sectional study, information concerning prenatal and postnatal ETS exposure at three stages of early life (during pregnancy, from [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the association between environmental exposure to tobacco smoke (ETS) during early life and astigmatism in Chinese preschool children. In this cross-sectional study, information concerning prenatal and postnatal ETS exposure at three stages of early life (during pregnancy, from birth to one year and from one to three years), visual problems of children and parents (including a confirmed diagnosis of astigmatism), socio-demographics and perinatal characteristics were obtained from 27,890 parent-reported questionnaires. Logistic regression analyses were undertaken to yield adjusted odds ratios (OR) for assessing their associations. After adjusting for the potential confounders, children were more likely to exhibit astigmatism when they were exposed to ETS during pregnancy + from one to three years [OR (95% CI) = 1.37 (1.02, 1.84)], or from birth to one year + from one to three years [OR (95% CI) = 1.36 (1.11, 1.66)], or during pregnancy + from birth to one year + from one to three years old [OR (95% CI) = 1.29 (1.16, 1.45)], compared to children without ETS exposure at any stage of early life. In Chinese preschool children, prenatal and postnatal astigmatism was associated with ETS exposure; the greater the ETS dose, the greater the astigmatism risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children's Environmental Health)
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Review

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Review
Respiratory and Allergic Effects in Children Exposed to Pesticides—A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(8), 2740; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17082740 - 16 Apr 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1325
Abstract
Pesticide exposure may affect children’s respiratory and allergic health, although results from epidemiological studies have not reached consensus. This review aims to analyze the scientific evidence on respiratory and allergic effects of exposure to agricultural pesticides in children aged up to 12 years [...] Read more.
Pesticide exposure may affect children’s respiratory and allergic health, although results from epidemiological studies have not reached consensus. This review aims to analyze the scientific evidence on respiratory and allergic effects of exposure to agricultural pesticides in children aged up to 12 years old. The databases PubMed, Web of Science, Scielo, and Lilacs were screened to select articles published in English, Spanish, or Portuguese, and 21 articles were included in this review. Most investigations were conducted in North America (mostly in the United States), while no studies conducted in Latin America or Africa were found, despite their intensive use of pesticides. Children are exposed to pesticides through multiple pathways from the prenatal period throughout later developmental stages and may experience several respiratory effects. Most studies (79%) found positive associations with pesticide exposure and children’s respiratory and allergic effects such as asthma, wheezing, coughs, acute respiratory infections, hay fever, rhinitis, eczema, chronic phlegm, and lung function impairments. Contrastingly, 21% of the studies found no associations between pesticide exposure and children’s respiratory health. The vast differences among the characteristics of the studies hamper any comparison of the results. Exposure to pesticides may have several impacts on childhood respiratory health. More studies must be conducted, especially in low- and middle-income countries, preferably with comparable research protocols adapted to local realities. Efforts should be made to develop comprehensive risk mitigation strategies and behavioral interventions to reduce children’s exposure to pesticides used in agriculture and respiratory health effects, and to ensure healthy childhood growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children's Environmental Health)
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Other

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Protocol
Home Assessment of Indoor Microbiome (HAIM) in Relation to Lower Respiratory Tract Infections among Under-Five Children in Ibadan, Nigeria: The Study Protocol
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(6), 1857; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17061857 - 13 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1243
Abstract
The association between household air pollution and lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) among children under five years of age has been well documented; however, the extent to which the microbiome within the indoor environment contributes to this association is uncertain. The home assessment [...] Read more.
The association between household air pollution and lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) among children under five years of age has been well documented; however, the extent to which the microbiome within the indoor environment contributes to this association is uncertain. The home assessment of indoor microbiome (HAIM) study seeks to assess the abundance of indoor microbiota (IM) in the homes of under-five children (U-5Cs) with and without LRTI. HAIM is a hospital- and community-based study involving 200 cases and 200 controls recruited from three children’s hospitals in Ibadan, Nigeria. Cases will be hospital-based patients with LRTI confirmed by a pediatrician, while controls will be community-based participants, matched to cases on the basis of sex, geographical location, and age (±3 months) without LRTI. The abundance of IM in houses of cases and controls will be investigated using active and passive air sampling techniques and analyzed by qualitative detection of bacterial 16SrRNA gene (V3–V4), fungal ITS1 region, and viral RNA sequencing. HAIM is expected to elucidate the relationship between exposure to IM and incidence of LRTI among U-5Cs and ultimately provide evidence base for strategic interventions to curtail the burgeoning burden of LRTI on the subcontinent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children's Environmental Health)
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