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Stay up to date with our recent research findings, news features, and publications below! Our blog is a great place to learn more detailed information about the collective nationwide network of Children's Environmental Health researchers and their findings.

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Did you know that toxic metals are not always adequately tested for in baby food? Ingredients in baby food are contaminated with heavy metals like arsenic, lead and cadmium at levels that are far higher than those allowed in other products such as bottled water. Arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury are in the World Health Organization's top 10 chemicals of concern for infants and children. As natural elements, they are in the soil in which crops are grown and thus can't be avoided. Some crop fields and regions, however, contain more toxic levels than others, partly due to the overuse of metal-containing pesticides and ongoing industrial pollution. heavy metals have been linked to cancer, chronic disease and neurotoxic effects, but it's the devastating damage that can be done to a developing baby's brain that makes baby food toxicity so critical.

The US Food and Drug Administration has not yet set minimum levels for heavy metals in most infant food. The agency did set a standard of 100 parts per billion inorganic arsenic for infant rice cereal, but even that level is considered much too high for baby's safety, critics say, especially since the FDA has already set a much lower standard of 10 parts per billion of inorganic arsenic for bottled water.

So what can you do?

Avoid rice cereal and rice flour products

Parents can reduce their baby's exposure to arsenic in rice products by limiting their intake of infant rice cereal or other products and snacks that are made with rice flour. Substitute rice-based cereals with infant oatmeal cereal or other grains.

Avoid Juice and choose a variety of fruits & veggies

Ingredients in many baby foods, including some organic fare, are contaminated with heavy metals like arsenic, lead and cadmium at levels that are far higher than those allowed in products like bottled water, congressional investigators said on Thursday.

Remember "organic" does not mean metal-free

Ingredients in many baby foods, including some organic fare, are contaminated with heavy metals like arsenic, lead and cadmium at levels that are far higher than those allowed in products like bottled water, congressional investigators said on Thursday.

Thursday, October 8, 2020 is Children’s Environmental Health Day (CEH Day). The environment is an important but often overlooked factor that influences health and developmental outcomes, especially for children, who are particularly vulnerable to these hazards. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that 34% of all children’s health issues are the result of modifiable environmental factors. We must consider environmental factors, such as air and water pollution, or toxic chemicals in consumer products because these can be modified and improved through policy measures, individual habits, community efforts, and business practices.

As with the coronavirus and so many current health crises, environmental factors are not equally distributed across race and income. Children and pregnant women from low-income communities, tribal communities, and communities of color are disproportionately exposed to these harmful toxicants, placing them at higher risk for illness and disability.

While there is an urgent need to put children and families back into the forefront of our nation’s actions regarding health and environment, we also have many children’s environmental health wins to celebrate this year. For instance, in April 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave $697,000 in grants to assist Tennessee in identifying sources of lead in school and child care facility water. Then in July, Tennessee unanimously passed HB 2017, creating stronger rules for Lead-Free Schools. This year New Jersey applied new clean water protections to 600 miles of waterways, protecting kid’s physical, mental, and emotional health. New Jersey also became the first state to include climate change curriculum in schools.

We’re excited to celebrate these and other wins, but also to commemorate the large amount of work that is still required to protect children from environmental hazards. CEH Day is a platform for ALL of us advocating for clean air and water, safer food and products, and healthier places for children to live, learn, and play. It is a way to increase visibility, make some noise, educate decision-makers, and create some real change for children's health. There are lots of ways to get involved, no matter who you are. You can request proclamations from your mayor/governor declaring CEH a priority for your community. You can join the annual #CEHchat on Twitter (this year focuses on children’s health and climate change). Or you could attend or host an event like a stream cleanup, educational panel, letter-writing campaign, or virtual watch party.

Because of COVID-19, many of this year’s CEH Day activities are going virtual. The Children’s Environmental Health Network is working with advocates, scientists, grassroots organizers, and entertainers to put on a CEH Day Livestream. Tune in 8:30 am to 7:30 pm ET for educational panels, inspiring leaders,CEH Community produced segments focusing on pertinent public health issues, fun children's read- and sing-alongs, a sustainable children's' fashion show, and the 15th Annual Child Health Advocate Awards.

We must respect the interconnectedness of environmental and human health and prioritize the health of our planet so that our children and future generations have the healthiest possible start to life

I invite you to join me and help create a better, healthier future for our children on October 8th.

COVID-19 has completely reshaped daily life. While it may be tempting to begin resuming normal life as the summer months approach, it is necessary to take proper precautions and maintain safe social distancing even as parts of the country begin to reopen. There is still a lot of uncertainty at this time, so it is always better to stay on the safe side and err on the side of caution.

This doesn't, however, mean you can't enjoy outdoor summer activities. As of now, the CDC, recommends staying physically active. It's one of the best ways to keep your mind and body healthy. In many areas, people can visit parks, hike trails, or be in open spaces as a way to relieve stress, get some fresh air and vitamin D, stay active and safely connect with others.

It is important to follow the steps below to protect yourself and others from COVID-19:

DO Visit parks that are close to your home Prepare before you visit (this includes bringing facemasks, sanitizer, and any essentials you might need in the event of coming across other people) Stay at least 6 feet away from others (“social distancing”) and take other steps to prevent COVID-19 Play it safe around and in swimming pools. Keep space between yourself and others

DON’T Visit parks if you are sick or were recently exposed to COVID-19 Visit crowded parks Use playgrounds Participate in organized activities or sports

It is important to keep in mind that parks will only be open at the discretion of state and local authorities, so be sure to research if the park you're planning to visit will be open ahead of time.

National parks will be open on a park-by-park basis as well, so be sure to check the National Park Service website to determine whether the park you're planning to visit will be open.

Beaches and swimming areas will be open at the discretion of state and local authorities as well. You should also check ahead of time to see if visitor centers and bathroom facilities at these places will be available, so you can determine what you need to bring with you.

Swimming does carry some health risks. Visit CDC’s Healthy Swimming website for information to help you prevent illness and drowning, while having fun and enjoying the health benefits of swimming.

As we all are surely aware by now, be sure to STAY 6 FEET AWAY from others and to WASH YOUR HANDS OFTEN for 20 seconds with soap and water, and to cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze.

Also remember....

Avoid gathering with others outside of your household