Michigan among first states to get child health report card

LANSING — Cancer, autism, asthma and attention deficit disorder afflict Michigan children at a greater rate than the nationwide average, according to a recent report.
The Children’s Environmental Health Network profiled the environmental health of children in Michigan, Minnesota and North Carolina as indicators of environmental hazards. The network plans to compile similar reports for the remaining 47 states as more funding is secured.
Reports for these three states were completed first because of the large amounts of federal funding and because other efforts to improve children’s health there are particularly interesting, said Nsedu Witherspoon, the group’s executive director.
The reports emphasize the importance of protecting children from environmental threats, she said. Exposure to harmful agents from a young age can harm the health of children who “breathe, eat and drink more, in proportion to their body size, than do adults, and because their bodies and brains are still developing.”
Eight key indicators are identified for the three states: safe drinking water, air quality, warming temperatures, toxic chemical releases, neuro-developmental disorders, asthma, pediatric cancer and blood lead levels.

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