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Your Environment. Your Health.

News and Highlights

Centers for Children’s Environmental Health & Disease Prevention Research

Someone getting water from water fountain
Center Research Leads to New Regulation on Arsenic in Public Water

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed a bill into law that decreases the state’s acceptable level of arsenic in public water from 10 parts per billion to 5 parts per billion. This new regulation is a result of longstanding and collaborative research efforts from the Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Center at Dartmouth and the Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program. “It is a great example of partnership between good science and good policy,” said Community Outreach and Translation Core Director Carolyn Murray, M.D., in an interview with NBC 5 News.

  • Science Highlights
  • NBC 5 News
Wildfire in forest
Controlled Fires May Have Less Impact on Children’s Health Than Wildfires

Led by Kari Nadeau, M.D., Ph.D., UC Berkeley/Stanford Children’s Environmental Health Center, researchers found that children in northern California were exposed to higher levels of air pollutants from wildfires than children in the same area exposed to similar-sized controlled fires. The researchers also found that children exposed to wildfires had lower levels of immune cells in their blood and reported worse asthma symptoms compared to children exposed to controlled fires. Controlled fires are low-intensity and decrease the build-up of vegetation which acts as fuel for wildfires.

  • Science Highlights
  • Stanford Medicine News Center
Taxi's in NYC
Study Shows Clean Air Taxi Legislation Improves Air Quality in NYC

A collaborative study between researchers from the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health and Drexel University found New York City’s Clean Air Taxi rules helped reduce air pollution in Manhattan neighborhoods. As a result of the rules, nitrous oxide and particulate exhaust emissions and concentrations in the air decreased. Cleaner city air could reduce the likelihood of children developing asthma and other health issues.

  • Science Highlights
  • CCCEH Homepage Feature
Smog over the city of Los Angeles
Study Shows Improved Air Quality in LA is Linked to Fewer Cases of Childhood Asthma

Researchers at the University of Southern California Children’s Environmental Health Center found that reduced air pollution in Los Angeles correlates to a 20% drop in new asthma cases in children. The study used data collected as part of the USC Children’s Health Study, which has followed children in Southern California over two decades, along with air quality trends in the region. The study shows health benefits to cleaning up air pollution in a smog-prone area like Los Angeles.

  • Science Highlights
  • USC Environmental Health
Little girl using her asthma inhaler
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Could Lessen Asthma Symptoms in Urban Children

A study by the Center for Childhood Asthma in the Urban Environment at Johns Hopkins University suggests that a child’s diet could be a key factor in lessening asthma symptoms. The study focused on children in inner city Baltimore and found that children with diets high in omega-3 fatty acids had fewer asthma symptoms. According to the authors, diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids could work with reductions in air pollution to lessen asthma symptoms in children.

  • Science Highlights
  • Johns Hopkins Medicine Newsroom
Circle with an asthma connection of Vitamin D, Obesity, Pollution.
Vitamin D May Be Protective, Reducing Asthma Symptoms in Obese Children

The Center for Childhood Asthma in the Urban Environment at Johns Hopkins University found vitamin D may protect against asthma symptoms in children experiencing high indoor air pollution exposures in inner city Baltimore. Furthermore, researchers found that obese children living in homes with high indoor air pollution had less severe asthma symptoms if they had higher vitamin D levels. These findings point to the importance of maintaining sufficient vitamin D levels in obese, asthmatic children.

  • Science Highlights
  • EurekAlert
two doctors looking at a computer
Center Develops New Method for Characterizing Chemical Exposures

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco Pregnancy Exposures to Environmental Chemicals Children’s Center have developed a new screening method that enables detection of hundreds of chemicals in blood samples. This method may help researchers assess chemical exposures in different populations, including pregnant women, and prioritize specific chemicals for future studies.

  • Science Highlights
  • UCSF News
Study in Rats Shows Developmental Exposure to Phthalates Lowers Number of Neurons, Impacts Cognitive Ability

Researchers from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Children’s Center discovered that rats exposed to an environmentally-relevant mixture of phthalates shortly before and after birth experienced a reduction in neurons, synapses, and size of their medial prefrontal cortex. They also found that exposure led to a deficit in rats’ cognitive ability to process or adapt to new or unexpected conditions.

  • Science Highlights
  • EurekAlert
house with Dirty Little Secret About House Dust written on it
Center Launches Informational Webpages to Help Protect Children from Leukemia

Investigators at the University of California, Berkeley Center for Integrative Research on Childhood Leukemia and the Environment launched two new webpages using colorful infographics and relatable story-telling to share tips about protecting children from leukemia. The webpages, “Rosa and Carlos Plan a Family” and “Dirty Little Secrets About House Dust,” are available in in English and Spanish.

  • Community Engagement
  • UC Berkeley CIRCLE News
Know Better, Live Better logo
Center Launches Social Impact Campaign and Video, "Know Better, Live Better"

Investigators at the Emory Center for Children’s Health, the Environment, the Microbiome, and Metabolomics launched a social impact campaign called “Know Better, Live Better.” Geared towards African American women, the campaign shares educational resources, videos, and tips to help protect mothers and their children from harmful chemical exposures.

  • Community Engagement
  • C-CHEM2 Know Better, Live Better
group of children
Childhood Exposure to Flame Retardants Declines After Phase-out

Researchers from the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health are the first to show that levels of childhood exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers, a flame retardant once widely used in consumer products, significantly decreased over a 15-year period (between 1998 and 2013).

  • Publications
  • NIEHS Papers of the Month
60 Minutes Toxic screenshot
Center Uses Creative Video Series to Describe Challenges in Environmental Health Policy

Investigators at the University of California, San Francisco Pregnancy Exposures to Environmental Chemicals Children’s Center created a series of short videos featuring puppets as correspondents from 60 Minutes. The purpose of these videos, called “60 MiNueTs,” is to introduce the general public to issues and challenges related to environmental health policy.

  • Community Engagement
  • UCSF PEEC on YouTube
coal power plant
Center Investigators Show Air Pollution May Shorten Telomeres in Newborns

A recent study from the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health indicated that prenatal exposure to air pollutants, specifically polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, may be associated with shorter telomere length in a cohort of Chinese newborns. Researchers conducted a study of newborns born before and after the 2004 closure of a coal-burning power plant in Tongliang, China. Results showed that children born before closure of the plant had shorter telomeres than those who were conceived and born after the plant’s operations.

  • Science Highlights
  • CCCEH News
Todd Whitehead
Investigator Recognized As Pioneer Under 40 in Environmental Public Health

Todd Whitehead, Ph.D., career development investigator for the University of California, Berkeley Center for Integrative Research on Childhood Leukemia and the Environment, was recognized as one of 20 pioneers under 40 in environmental public health by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment. As part of this recognition, Whitehead was given an opportunity to present during a webinar where he shared more about the Center’s research.

  • Career Development
  • UC Berkeley CIRCLE News
Pregnant Woman
The Womb Is No Protection from Toxic Chemicals

An op-ed article about the risks that different exposures pose to the fetus and developing children by Frederica Perera, Dr.P.H., director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health, was published in The New York Times.

  • News & Media
  • NY Times
EHP Children's Health EHP News logo
Investigators Co-author Paper on Small-magnitude Epigenetic Changes for Children's Environmental Health Research

A group of Children’s Centers investigators co-authored a paper about the importance of small-magnitude effect sizes in epigenetic points for children’s environmental health research. The paper was published in Environmental Health Perspectives.

  • Science Highlights & Publications
  • Environmental Health Perspectives
business park
Parks, Pollution, and Obesity Conference

The Southern California Children’s Environmental Health Center organized and hosted a “Parks, Pollution, and Obesity” conference which was attended by more than 200 community, academic, and decision-making stakeholders with expertise in environmental health, urban design, and parks planning.

  • Community Engagement
Rosa and Carlos get Married Illustration
Shadow-puppet Play and Graphic Novel: Creative Messaging on Children's Environmental Health

Investigators at the UC Berkeley Center for Integrative Research on Childhood Leukemia and the Environment (CIRCLE) developed educational materials that involve creative messaging about the role of pre-conception and prenatal environmental influences on health, and positive actions to take in mitigating risk of exposure.

  • Community Engagement
  • UC Berkeley CIRCLE, Western States PEHSU
Dana Dolinoy, Ph.D.,
Society of Toxicology Recognizes Young investigator with Award

Dana Dolinoy, Ph.D., investigator at the University of Michigan Children’s Center, received the Outstanding Young Investigator award from the Society of Toxicology, Women in Toxicology group in spring 2017.

  • Awards
  • Environmental Factor
spoons of rice
Ways to Reduce Dietary Arsenic Exposure

Margaret Karagas, Ph.D., director for the Dartmouth Center for Children’s Environmental Health was interviewed by about ways to reduce dietary arsenic exposure .

  • News & Media
toddler feet on a scale
Asthmatic Children May be More Susceptible to Obesity

Researchers from the Southern California Children’s Environmental Health Center determined that children with asthma may be more likely become obese later in childhood or adolescence.

  • Science Highlights & Publications
  • EurekAlert! Science News
Animal Study Shows Potential for Harmful Effects of Tobacco Smoke Before Pregnancy

Findings from an animal study at the Duke Center on Neurodevelopment and Improving Children’s Health following Environmental Tobacco Smoke exposure (NICHES) showed harmful effects of secondhand smoke even before pregnancy, which raises caution for women of childbearing age.

  • Science Highlights & Publications
  • Duke Health
NIEHS 2016 Papers of the Year
Dartmouth Study Named NIEHS 2016 Paper of the Year

A paper authored by investigators at the Dartmouth Center for Children’s Environmental Health was named as one of several NIEHS 2016 Papers of the Year. This paper, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, is one of the first to report an association between low-level arsenic exposure during pregnancy and birth outcomes.

  • Science Highlights & Publications
  • NIEHS 2016 Papers of the Year
industrial building expelling exhaust
Report on the Effects of Policy-driven Air Quality Improvements for Children's Health

Researchers from the Southern California Children’s Environmental Health Center authored a comprehensive report, “The effects of policy-driven air quality improvements on children’s respiratory health,” which was published by the Health Effects Institute (HEI). A synopsis of the report is also available from the HEI.

  • Science Highlights & Publications
  • Health Effects Institute
Child riding piggyback on mother
Short Documentary Shares Children's Environmental Health Topics with African American Communities in Metro Atlanta

Researchers at the Emory Center for Children's Health, the Environment, the Microbiome, and Metabolomics (C-CHEM2) and community collaboratorscreated a short documentary to introduce their Center and children’s environmental health topics to the African-American community in metro Atlanta.

  • Community Engagement
  • Emory C-CHEM2
Pregnant woman on the beach
Study Reports Measurements of Toxic Chemicals in Pregnant Women and Newborns

Researchers from the UCSF Pregnancy Exposures to Environmental Chemicals Children’s Center measured exposure to 59 toxic chemicals in pregnant women and their newborns, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and perfluorinated compounds (PFCs).

  • Science Highlights & Publications
  • UCSF News
Environmental Health: What Speech Speech-Language Pathologists who work in early intervention need to know
Center Holds Continuing Education Event for Speech-Language Pathologists

The Northeastern Center for Research on Early Childhood Exposure and Development (CRECE) in Puerto Rico held a continuing education event to enhance speech language pathology pratictioners’ and graduate students’ knowledge about the effects of environmental exposures on children.

  • Community Engagement
  • Northeastern CRECE
children holding hands
Podcast on Creating Healthy Environments in Child-care Settings

Barbara Fiese, Community Outreach and Translation Core lead for the Children’s Environmental Health Research Center at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, was featured in a NIEHS-sponsored podcast on ways to reduce harmful exposures and create a healthy environment in the child-care setting.

  • Community Engagement
  • Partnerships for Environmental Public Health
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