Standard Article

Susceptibility of Children to Environmental Xenobiotics

Environmental and Ecotoxicology

  1. Alan D. Woolf MD, MPH Associate Director1,
  2. Megan Sandel MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Pediatrics2

Published Online: 15 DEC 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470744307.gat104

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

How to Cite

Woolf, A. D. and Sandel, M. 2009. Susceptibility of Children to Environmental Xenobiotics. General, Applied and Systems Toxicology. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Children's Hospital, Pediatric Environmental Health Center, Massachusetts, USA

  2. 2

    Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2009


The growth of interest in paediatric environmental health reflects a widespread recognition that the impact of the environment on children's health is of major importance for this and succeeding generations. Children have a greater vulnerability to the adverse health effects of many environmental toxicants and xenobiotics than do adults, by virtue of their smaller size, increased weight-adjusted intake of toxicants, developmental differences in body systems and functions, overall physiological and toxicodynamic differences, and differences in the environments they inhabit, the air they breathe, the foods they eat and the behaviours they display every day. The overall impact of such adverse effects of the environment, manifested by subsequent poorer health and the need for costly healthcare services, is amplified by the longer lifespans of children and is associated with intergenerational transmission of harmful effects, to the detriment of mankind. Conversely there is also great potential for averting such harmful effects by improving the quality of the environment and sparing children the consequences of such exposures.


  • children;
  • children's environmental health;
  • teratology;
  • paediatrics;
  • paediatric environmental health;
  • infant;
  • foetus;
  • pregnancy;
  • breast-feeding;
  • lactation;
  • genetics;
  • genomics;
  • child;
  • adolescent;
  • children's hazards