Interview: State’s Responsibility in Keeping People Healthy from Environmental Factors

Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s dean of global health is urging New York lawmakers to consider the connection between the environment and public health when it comes to allocating resources. Dr. Philip Landrigan is an expert on environmental threats to children’s health. He joined us to talk more about the role the state can play in keeping kids healthy. Click here for interview.


Finger Lakes Children’s Environmental Health Center – Resources

Back to Finger Lakes Children’s Environmental Health Center Page.



New York State is served by seven Centers, spanning Buffalo to Long Island. These Centers cover every county in the state. If you have a question or concern regarding a matter of child health and an environmental factor, please find your Center by clicking on the New York State map to the right or from the Centers link here.

The New York State Centers of Excellence in Children’s Environmental Health are pleased to announce a call for applicants for Pediatric Environmental Health Scholars. Our networks is dedicated to protecting and improving the environmental health of New York’s children through clinical, educational and community-based initiatives.

Children’s health has changed for the better: thanks to public health innovations, infectious diseases are no longer the primary cause of morbidity and mortality. But, today’s children are afflicted with chronic diseases that start in childhood (and often evolve into adulthood) with debilitating effects on not just the children themselves, but their families and communities. Environmental factors play a dominant role.

Pesticides Overview

Pesticides are chemicals designed to kill or repel insects, rodents, plants, or mold in our crops, schools, homes, and play places. Children are primarily exposed through residues in foods. Exposures are linked to some cancers, neurological and behavioral problems, and acute poisonings. Informed choices and behaviors can prevent unnecessary pesticide exposures.

Emergency Situations: Poison Control Center 1(800)222-1222


General Pesticide Information:

Cornell Cooperative Extension, Suffolk County

423 Griffing Avenue, Suite 100, Riverhead, New York 11901-3071
TEL: 631-727-7850, FAX: 631-727-7130

Click to download Message Map as a PDF.

Lead Overview

Lead is a metal that has been used in the past in gasoline and pain, and can currently be found in many household products. Lead is known to cause neurologic and developmental health problems in children, even at low levels. Avoid exposures to peeling paint in older homes, painted housewares, folk remedies, and cosmetics that may contain lead.

Click to download Message Map as a PDF.

Endocrine Disruptors Overview

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are man-made substances that interfere with the production or function of hormones. Two examples of EDCs with known adverse health effects are Bisphenol A and phthalates. Exposure to these chemicals is widespread, but simple steps can reduce risk of harm.

Click to download Message Map as a PDF.

Asbestos Overview

Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals that were once used widely in insulation, brake pads, and other products. All new uses have been banned since 1989 because asbestos is known to cause lung problems, including cancer, decades after high exposures. Children are not typically at risk for these diseases because they do not work in industrial settings; however, some home and school construction projects can disturb old asbestos.  Appropriate construction practices and avoidance of known sources of asbestos, along with avoidance of tobacco smoke, are the best ways to avoid unnecessary risk to children.

Click to download Message Map as a PDF.


The New York State Centers of Excellence in Children’s Environmental Health are dedicated to protecting and improving the health of New York State’s children in regard to potential adverse effects of environmental toxicants, for the purpose of promoting life-long health and well-being.

Our seven centers across the state provide local service and collaborative expertise for the public.  We endeavor to provide timely and accurate information to parents, educators, health providers, policy makers, et al.

To contact the Center nearest you, please search by county in the pulldown menu.

According to the World Health Organization, environmental exposures are responsible for 35% of all childhood disease and deaths worldwide. The cost of environmental disease in New York State is over $4 billion per year. Many of the environmental exposures that cause illness can be prevented by established, cost-effective interventions.

Click here to read the full report on New York State’s Children and the Environment.

What is the Environment?
When it comes to the health of children, the environment is everything the child interacts with: the air, the water, the products and chemicals of our daily lives. Even more pervasively, a child’s health depends on the effects of the social environment, the qualities of the neighborhood, the economic and educational opportunities, et al.

That’s a lot for a parent to think about, especially when accurate information is hard to find. Is my daughter’s asthma caused by something in my home? Is my son’s autism caused by chemicals in the products we use?

We’re here to help.  If you can’t find the information you’re looking for, you can contact the Center nearest you using the email form or the phone number.