Draft Environmental Health Criteria Document on Principles for Evaluating Health Risks in Children
The accumulating knowledge that children may be at increased risk at different developmental stages, with respect to both toxicology and exposure, has raised the awareness that new risk assessment approaches may be necessary in order to adequately protect children. Traditional risk assessment approaches and environmental health policies have focused mainly on adults and adult exposure patterns, utilizing data from adult humans or adult animals.
The primary purpose of this document is to provide a systematic analysis of the scientific principles to be considered in assessing health risks in children from exposures to environmental agents during distinct stages of development. The developmental stages used throughout this document are considered temporal intervals with distinct anatomical, physiological, behavioural, or functional characteristics that contribute to potential differences in vulnerability to environmental exposures. The central focus of this document is on the child rather than on a specific environmental agent, target organ, or disease.
This document addresses the difficult task of integrating all that is known about exposure, toxicity, and health outcomes at different life stages, which is especially challenging when data are limited for particular life stages.