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WHO to highlight specific health risks to children from Environmental dangers

A growing number of diseases in children are linked to the unsafe environments in which they live, play, learn and grow. Children are not little adult – since they are still growing, their organs, systems and detoxification mechanisms are not fully developed, and they are especially vulnerable to chemical, physical and biological hazards in air, water and soil. In both industrialized and developing countries, their development, health and well being is threatened by unclean water, unsafe food and chemicals in household products and consumer goods.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has established the WHO Task Force for the Protection of Children’s Environmental Health and is now staging its first comprehensive event to establish the best means of assessing and reducing the major environmental hazards to children. Particular emphasis will be paid to addressing these risks in and finding solutions for the Asia/Pacific region.

WHAT: The International Conference on Environmental Threats to the Health of Children: Hazards and Vulnerability WHEN: 3 – 7 March 2002

WHERE: Chulabhorn Research Institute - Convention Centre Vipavadee Rangsit HighwayLak Si, DonmoungBangkok 10210Thailand

WHO: 300 experts in health and the environment, and in the protection of children’s health, from the Asia/Pacific region and around the world.

The Conference will be opened by Professor Dr Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn Mahidol and participants will include professionals from the health sector (scientists, paediatricians, family doctors, primary health care workers), representatives from WHO Member States, participants from other United Nations agencies, and invited persons from Chulabhorn Research Institute. The conference itself will be divided into plenary sessions and breakout sessions, where issues of prime importance will be discussed in greater detail.

PRESS ACCREDITATION AND FACILITIES:

Press accreditation will be provided at the general registration desk in the Chulabhorn Convention Centre starting at 09h00 on Sunday, 3 March. An interview room for the media is available in the building next to the Conference Centre. An opening press conference will be held on Sunday, 3 March, at 14h30 in the Convention Centre and a Video News Release related to this event will be available to audiovisual media on 3 March. A special field trip to illustrate the environmental effects on children’s health will take place on Tuesday, 5 March. Daily briefings and materials will be provided to journalists during the duration of the Conference.

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For more information contact:

Mr Gregory Hartl
Telephone: +41 (22) 791 4458
Mobile phone: +41 (79) 203 6715
E-mail: hartlg@who.int

Mr Jean-Marc Glinz