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E. Understanding the Environmental Factors that Affect Children

Narrator: This is Science Today. It's only been in the last ten years or so that policy makers began to focus more on how various environmental factors and conditions particularly affect children and not just adults. In this spirit, environmental health researcher Amy Kyle of the University of California, Berkeley, collaborated with the Environmental Protection Agency to lay out the types of environmental factors that are most important to children.

Kyle: We find that while lead in blood in children has gone down overall, we still have a significant number of children who are still at risk from lead and we really need to do something about that.

Narrator: Kyle's study also found that 8% of women in this country of childbearing age have higher than normal levels of mercury in their blood and this affects babies in the womb.

Kyle: They're at greatest risk while their brains are still developing. We also have learned that mercury levels in the blood that the developing child is exposed to are actually a little bit higher than the mothers. So it is a significant concern. We need to think about where that mercury is coming from and see where it is coming from and see what we can do about that.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.