World health organization

10 facts on children's environmental health

Portrait of a baby with kohl around her eyes
WHO/P. Virot

In some developing regions of the world, more than one third of all children are affected by high levels of lead.

Lead poisoning can alter children's brain development. It can increase the risk of behavioural and learning problems, and of cardiovascular diseases later in life. Lead is no longer used in gasoline in most countries, but children are still exposed to it from smelters, lead-based paint, recycling activities, cosmetics, herbal medicines, and other sources.

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