Children’s heart risk from climate and chemicals is really fatal

Experts have cautioned that the intricate interaction between rising temperatures and exposure to chemicals and pollutants can harm children’s hearts. The American Heart Association (AHA) has released a new statement that includes input from experts at the University of Exeter. 

This statement examines the effects of airborne pollution, lead, endocrine-disrupting substances, maternal heat exposure, global warming, and exposure to over 300,000 registered synthetic chemicals on the heart health of newborns, infants, children, and adolescents.

Heat responds to inquiries such as: 

Has industrialization and rapid technological advancement exposed the future generation to serious cardiovascular compromise?

Do we still have any doubts about the existence of global warming, climate change, and the effects of hundreds of tons of chemicals released into the atmosphere every day? To what extent do these exposures to the environment affect the hearts of newborns and children?

Experts from the University of Exeter, the US Baylor College of Medicine, Northwestern University, the University of South California, the University of Colorado, the Cambridge Health Alliance, New York University, and the University of Eastern Finland contributed to the statement, which was published in Circulation.

Award-winning physician Andrew Agbaje, an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Exeter and professor of clinical epidemiology and child health at the University of Eastern Finland stated: “Data suggests that congenital heart defects, particularly conotruncal and septal defects, are more common due to climate change. Maternal heat exposure during pregnancy primarily causes these defects.

Injury:

Furthermore, airborne particulate matter pollution may exacerbate the risk of congenital cardiac abnormalities and raise the incidence of Kawasaki disease. Lead metal exposure puts young children and infants at risk for hypertension and early kidney disease. 

Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, such as bisphenols and phthalates, increases high blood pressure and dyslipidemia, which are risk factors for early cardiac and vascular damage.

Dr. Barbara Entl, the Science and Medicine Advisor for the American Heart Association, summarized the Top Things to Know about Environmental Exposure and Pediatric Cardiology.

In his article “Environmental Risk Factors Go Mainstream in Pediatric Cardiology,” the esteemed Professor Philip J. Landrigan outlined future priority topics: 1. “We need to accelerate research in environmental cardiology.” 2. “Health care providers in general, including cardiologists, must understand the widespread influence of environmental factors on cardiovascular health.” 3. “A swift and extensive switch from fossil fuels like coal, gas, and oil to clean, renewable energy is the most effective way to slow down climate change and reduce air pollution.” 4. International action is especially important to safeguard the health of these children, as 60 percent of the world’s chemical and plastic industry currently concentrates in low- and middle-income nations.

A legally enforceable Global Chemicals Treaty created and carried out under United Nations auspices could be a crucial tactic.

In a ten-minute video conversation that the American Heart Association filmed, Professors Andrew Agbaje and Justin Zachariah, who chaired the AHA scientific writing committee, both summarized the Scientific Statement on Environmental Exposure and Pediatric Cardiology.

Untested:

In conclusion, Professor Agbaje concurs with Professor Landrigan that health professionals, medical associations, public health groups, and pediatric cardiologists ought to keep pushing national and continental governments—like the European Union—to stop pollution.

The catastrophic connections between air pollution, climate change, and children’s heart health should be well-informed to elected leaders. We should strictly control chemical releases into children’s environments, giving new and untested substances extra scrutiny.

“We can join hands individually and at societal levels to protect children’s heart health,” said Professor Agbaje in closing.