Widespread exposure to toxic chemicals is affecting brain development and making children more susceptible to infectious and microbial diseasein the Philippines, Dr Irma Makalinao, Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of the Philippines, told an Experts Panel on Children’s Environmental Health on January 30, 2001. Organized by the Natural Heritage and Nautilus Institutes, in conjunction with UNEP and UNICEF, the Panel was held in New York during the Preparatory Meeting for a UN Special Session on Children, which will be held in September, 2001.
The Panel aimed to prod UN organizations and governments to take action to deal with children’s special vulnerability to microbial disease, especially diarrhea stemming from lack of clean water and sanitation, and toxic contanimants. The panel included Dr Massee Bateman, Director of USAID’s Environmental Health Project; Mohamed Soumare, Program Director of Environmental Development Action in the Third World (ENDA), based in Dakar, Senagal; and Sheridan Bartlett, Program Associate of the International Institute for Environment and Development in London.
The Panel is part of a project to advance a Global Framework for Children’s Environmental Health. A collaboration of the Natural Heritage and Nautilus Institutes, the project received seed funding from the Jennifer Altman Foundation in December, 2000.