Climate Change, Fossil-Fuel Pollution, and Children’s Health

The combustion of fossil fuels (coal, petroleum [oil], and natural gas) is the major source of both air pollution and the greenhouse-gas emissions driving climate change. The fetus, infant, and child are especially vulnerable to exposure to air pollution and climate change, which are already taking a major toll on the physical and mental health of children. Given the frequent co-occurrence of various fossil-fuel exposures, their interactions and cumulative environmental impacts are a growing concern. All children are at risk, but the greatest burden falls on those who are socially and economically disadvantaged. Protection of children’s health requires that health professionals understand the multiple harms to children from climate change and air pollution and use available strategies to reduce these harms.


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