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The past decade has been marked by a rapid expansion of scientific inquiry, media reports, and public interest in the topic of environmental contaminants and child health. There are few pediatric environmental health specialists, and most health conditions associated with contaminants in food, water, the home environment, and the community present initially to the primary care clinician. Consequently, pediatricians are increasingly called on to answer questions about environmental health.

Although standard medical education on these topics is limited and self-reported confidence among pediatric clinicians is low, extensive knowledge of toxicology is not required to suspect environmental health problems. This article reviews core concepts of pediatric environmental health, commonly encountered pediatric environmental hazards, and the environmental history. Understanding these areas of knowledge should allow the clinician to develop a degree of suspicion that is the foundation for discerning and preventing the potential...

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