Reducing chemical exposure

Leonardo Trasande, MD, shares advice for parents on a number of safe and simple steps to help you reduce your family's chemical exposure at home
Safe & Simple Steps To Reduce Chemical Exposure At Home
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Reducing chemical exposure

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Many parents come to my office feeling a bit overwhelmed by the vast array of chemicals that they hear about in the news. The good news is that families don't need a Ph.D. in chemistry to limit the environmental exposures of greatest concern. There are some safe and simple steps parents can do to take care of the lowest hanging fruit and get a lot of value for their children's lives. They can limit their exposure to lead-based paint hazards. They can make sure they are eating fish with high omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury. They can limit their children's exposure to pesticides, eating organic and reducing or eliminating the use of pesticides in the home to get rid of unwanted vermin. They can make sure that they limit, as much as possible, their children's exposure to tobacco smoke. They can also check their home for radon, which is the second leading cause of lung cancer and completely preventable.

Leonardo Trasande, MD, shares advice for parents on a number of safe and simple steps to help you reduce your family's chemical exposure at home

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Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP

Associate Professor, NYU School of Medicine

Dr. Leo Trasande's research focuses on identifying the role of environmental exposures in childhood obesity and cardiovascular risks, and documenting the economic costs for policy makers of failing to prevent diseases of environmental origin in children proactively. Dr. Trasande is perhaps best known for a 2012 Journal of the American Medical Association study associating Bisphenol A exposure in children and adolescents with obesity, and a 2011 study in Health Affairs which found that children's exposures to chemicals in the environment cost $76.6 billion in 2008. His analysis of the economic costs of mercury pollution played a critical role in preventing the Clear Skies Act (which would have relaxed regulations on emissions from coal-fired power plants) from becoming law. He has also published a series of studies which document increases in hospitalizations associated with childhood obesity and increases in medical expenditures associated with being obese or overweight in childhood.

These studies have been cited in the Presidential Task Force Report in Childhood Obesity, and another landmark study identified that a $2 billion annual investment in prevention would be cost-effective even if it produced small reductions in the number of children who were obese and overweight. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Council for Environmental Health of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and on the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee for the World Trade Center Health Program. He recently served on a United Nations Environment Programme Steering Committee which published a Global Outlook on Chemicals in 2013, and on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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