Why are so many kids so sick? The cause could be all around us. Researchers from the University of California, Berkley found children with a type of leukemia, known as acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), were twice as likely to have had three or more X-rays in their lifetime.
"Actually, the results surprised us because the dose in a normal X-ray, what we think of as a plain film X-ray, is fairly low," said Karen Bartley, a doctoral student in epidemiology at UC Berkeley.
In fact, the amount of radiation in a simple X-ray is about the same amount that passengers are exposed to in a flight across the U.S. In Fresno, Calif., one in three children has asthma, and air pollution rates remain through the roof.
A chemical found in air pollution, PAH, may be to blame. When mothers were exposed, their children had DNA changes that increased their risk of asthma. And the DNA change could impact their children's children.
"What was surprising to me in doing this research is to realize that things that happen to our grandparents can then be transmitted to their grandchildren," said Stanford School of Medicine's Kari Nadeau, M.D., Ph.D.
Another recent environmental study found children who are exposed to higher levels of organophosphate pesticides, found in trace amounts on fruits and veggies, have twice the risk of being diagnosed with ADHD.
A second report found mothers with high levels of this pesticide in their urine were more likely to have children with the disorder. Research now proving the effects of the environment may be long-lasting.