We are enumerating the sources and determinants of environmental pollutant exposures so that individuals can modify their behavior to reduce exposure and policy makers can identify modifiable exposure sources that are amenable to regulatory interventions.
Dozens, if not hundreds of potentially toxic compounds are found in food, drinking water, breast milk, formula, consumer/personal care products, and residential dust. These include metals, phthalates, phenols, perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and flame retardants. Just as infants and children are not exposed to one chemical at a time, the determinants of exposure do not occur in isolation. Infancy and early childhood are dynamic periods characterized by changes in diet, activity patterns, anatomy, physiology, and behavior. These factors influence the magnitude and opportunity for chemical exposures over the lifespan.
We are expanding our work in this area by examining infancy and early childhood exposure to the “chemical exposome” in the Hassenfeld Child Health Innovation Institute cohorts.
Joseph Braun provides commentary in the below New York Times article on the safety of different types of chemicals found in plastics and how to avoid them: