Why focus on kids?
Of the thousands of chemicals present in our environment, some have toxic effects that are harmful to human health, in particular to children. Children are more vulnerable than adults to permanent injury from toxic chemicals because:
- They are going through critical stages of growth and development;
- Their bodies are smaller than adults, so by comparison their exposure level to toxins is higher; and
- They do things that can put them at risk, such as babies putting things in their mouth and playing on the floor.
Harm or injury from toxic chemicals can permanently alter a child’s lifelong development and health.
The presence of these chemicals in a product does not necessarily mean the product will harm a child's health, or that there is any violation of existing safety standards or laws. In order for a child’s health to be harmed by a toxic chemical, that chemical must somehow get out of the product and into their body.
There is a lot we don't know about how people may be exposed to chemicals based on how they use a product, or how the product degrades over time. Information gathered from manufacturers as part of this program will improve our understanding, and help OHA answer questions about children’s exposure to these chemicals.