Children around the world are working in hazardous or unsafe conditions and they are at risk to injury through manual labor and susceptible to poisoning due to chemical exposures in the work place. Because of their behavior and the developmental changes occurring throughout childhood and adolescence children are more vulnerable to injury. Often children work because of economic necessity, coming from families living in extreme poverty, with poor housing conditions, unsafe water supplies, poor sanitation, and inadequate food supplies making them even more vulnerable to poor developmental outcomes. This presents a multifaceted problem that can be challenging to address. Although many studies have examined occupational risks among adults very few studies have examined the impact of these risks on children. This paper reflects a summary of the talks from the symposium " Using Epidemiology and Neurotoxicology to Reduce Risks to Young Workers" presented at the 13th International Neurotoxicology Association Meeting and the 11th International Symposium on Neurobehavioral Methods and Effects in Occupational and Environmental Health in Xi'an China in June 2011. Epidemiological studies have demonstrated that children are exposed to various neurotoxicants, show increased symptoms and health problems and are working in hazardous conditions with minimal safety restrictions. Other studies have identified neurotoxicology effects in children from occupational exposures. Prevention methods have potential for reducing risks to young workers short of eliminating child labor and should be addressed to multiple stakeholders, parents, employers and children.
- Child labor
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