Children's environmental health

Children playing on the beach at low tide in Hangan Village, Buka, Papua New Guinea
WHO/Y. Shimizu

  • In 2012 1.7 million deaths in children under five were attributable to the environment.
  • These included 570 000 deaths from respiratory infections, 361 000 deaths from diarrhoea, 270,000 deaths from neonatal conditions, 200 000 deaths from malaria and 200 000 deaths from unintentional injuries.
  • Environmental risks that children are particularly vulnerable to include air pollution, inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene, hazardous chemicals and wastes, radiation, climate change as well as emerging threats like e-waste.
  • Reducing environmental risks could prevent 1 in 4 child deaths.