Andrea Wiley and John Allen present many fascinating points about growth and development throughout Chapter 5. A section I found particularly intriguing was that about environmental toxins and growth in adolescents.
For many of us, we can think of pollution levels dating as far back as the Industrial Revolution, and possibly even sooner. What has not been as prevalent are the affects these pollutant have on the human body. Adolescents are especially vulnerable to toxins and unborn children in the womb are even more at risk. Lead poisoning is an example of such a substance. If a pregnant woman exposes herself to these dangerous substances, in particular early on in the pregnancy, the child is expected to be born with a lower weight at birth than one that is healthy and unexposed. Increasing levels of exposure result in decreasing birth weights of children. These affects on an infant have been compared to those of tobacco smoking in pregnant women, with similar consequences (Wiley and Allen).
In today’s post industrial society, where pollutants surround us, why are individuals not taking extra careful precaution so as to not expose their unborn child to any more toxins than necessary? In the United States, at least, most people have access to some form of education on the matter. Unfortunately, this is not the case for less fortunate countries, living in poorer neighborhoods. How can these people be made more aware of the danger of exposure, the effects of which can last long after birth, even being retained in breast milk that is ingested by the infant?