Healthy World Healthy Child - CHEC Creating Healthy Environments For Children

Who We Are

Dr. Harvey Karp

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics - U.C.L.A. School of Medicine / The Happiest Baby, Inc.

Dr. Karp has been a practicing pediatrician and child development specialist for 25 years and is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine in Los Angeles. He has been a spokesperson on children’s environmental health for the American Academy of Pediatrics and Physicians for Social Responsibility. He has served as an advisor to the California Department of Health Services and the California Medical Association. He is author of "The Happiest Baby on the Block."

Over a century ago, naturalist John Muir noted, "When we try to pick out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe." We certainly see this today with our increasing awareness that the gas we burn in cars is linked to killer hurricanes in Louisiana and polar bear deaths in the distant Arctic.

What about our children’s health? Today, 1/6 American children suffer from autism…learning problems have increased…there is an epidemic of asthma. And more young adults are developing illnesses like breast cancer and Parkinson’s disease.

Could these be linked to the tiny daily doses of pesticides, plasticizers and pollutants to which we are all exposed? The answer is, we don’t know. But we cannot wait. We have reasons to be concerned...and to act.

Chemicals are not people. They are not innocent until proven guilty. In fact, it is just the opposite…they must be proven safe before they are allowed in our food, air and water. Yet, over 90% of industrial chemicals have never been tested for their effect on the developing brain and immune system.

Over the past 50 years, we repeatedly learned the harsh lesson that traces of chemicals can cause devastating effects to the environment…and to our health (e.g. the health destroying effects of tobacco smoke; the brain withering effects of lead in gasoline and paint; the epidemic of skin cancer caused by the hole in our ozone layer).

And as each day goes by, it becomes more and more clear that it is impossible to have healthy children in an unhealthy world.

Children are more vulnerable to toxins for two reasons: 1) Like new plants, their young brains and bodies are more fragile, more sensitive to damage and 2) Pound per pound, children are more eat/drink/breath more chemicals than adults (they constantly put objects in their mouths and they inhale twice as much air; eat 5 times more grapes and drink 15 times more apple juice than do adults).

Can we make a difference? You bet!

The availability of organic food and nontoxic cleansers is skyrocketing. Ten years ago, HC-HW helped persuade Congress to pass a sweeping new law requiring pesticides be proven safe for young children (the prior regulation was set to protect 160 lb. men). Since then, 1/3 of all pesticides have been shown to be unsafe and yanked from the shelves.

Each generation has its responsibilities and today the responsibility for protecting children from these dangers falls on our shoulders. If we do not do it …who will?

Please join us!

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