Children's environment and health in Latin America: the Ecuadorian case

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Sep;1076:660-77. doi: 10.1196/annals.1371.082.


Environmental health problems of children in Latin America and Ecuador are complex due to the close relationship that exists between social and environmental factors. Extended poverty and basic problems, such as the lack of drinking water and sanitation, are common. Infectious diseases are the greatest cause of morbidity and mortality among children. Development in industry and the introduction of chemical substances in agriculture add new risks including pesticide use, heavy metal exposure, and air pollution. Major problems can be divided into (a) lack of basic infrastructure, (b) poor living conditions, (c) specific environmental problems, and (d) child labor. Reproductive health disorders are frequent in developing countries like Ecuador. Issues related to children's health should consider new approaches, creative methodologies, and the search for independent predictors to separate environmental from social problems. Only with knowledge of the specific contribution of each factor, can it be possible to develop a strategy for prevention.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Welfare*
  • Ecuador
  • Employment
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Malnutrition
  • Poverty
  • Reproduction


  • Environmental Pollutants