Adolescent (12-18 Years)
The preteen and teenager is involved in increasing potential exposure to all types of contaminants. Because of risk-taking behaviors, these individuals, especially boys, get involved in going into environments where industrial waste, abandoned buildings, and hazardous situations may exist. They may also start experimenting with psychoactive substances, such as hard drugs, prescription medicines, and sniffing of solvents. Children may start smoking and use alcohol. Children become sexually active and are exposed to a variety of diseases. Gangs, especially in poor areas, contribute to a considerable amount of violence not only among children but also among all age groups in society.
The child may be involved in hazardous jobs or activities where he/she is exposed to workplace hazards found in the adult occupational environment. The child’s hobbies or actual job may lead to serious problems of safety or environmental hazards, which may cause disease or injury. The motor vehicle accident and injury rate for adolescents aged 16-19 is considerably higher than for drivers aged 20 and older.
A lack of maturity and a wish to explore new things, without using proper judgment, can result in short-term or long-term injury or illness. It can also lead to a reduction in the proper operation of the immune system and make individuals more susceptible to disease.