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Your Environment. Your Health.

Neurodevelopment and Children’s Environmental Health

Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH)

October 14, 2016

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There is evidence to suggest that there are environmental effects on brain health, most notably an increased rise in many types of mental health disorders in young people in the last 50 years. The cause for this rapid rise remains unknown. Few genetic links have been identified and replicated, which lends support to a substantial role for the environment in these complex diseases. NIEHS supports a robust research program looking at environmental contributions to brain health in children. This PEPH webinar focused on the current research findings and their relevance to environmental public health. What does this research show and what does it mean for health professionals, parents, and decision makers? We heard from two researchers in this field and from a nationally recognized children's health advocate.



Virginia Rauh

Virginia Rauh, Sc.D., has been a member of Columbia University’s faculty since 1984 and is Deputy Director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health. Her work focuses on the adverse impact of exposure to air pollutants, including secondhand smoke and pesticides, on pregnancy and child health and the susceptibility of individuals and disadvantaged populations to environmental hazards. She has been principal investigator on numerous major research projects, including studies of the impact of organophosphorus insecticides and secondhand smoke on child neurodevelopment and brain abnormalities; a study of developmental outcomes of children born to inner-city adolescent mothers; and a study of links between race, stressors, and preterm birth.

Susan Korrick

Susan Korrick, M.D., is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, an Assistant Professor of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and an Associate Physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. As an environmental epidemiologist, her primary research focus is on the developmental and neurocognitive toxicities of environmental contaminants, including metals, organochlorine pesticides, and polychlorinated biphenyls, as well as short half-life endocrine-disrupting compounds such phenols and phthalates.

Maureen Swanson

Maureen Swanson is Director of the Healthy Children Project of the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA), focused on raising awareness of environmental factors linked to learning and developmental disabilities and on promoting policies and practices to reduce toxic chemical exposures, especially for pregnant women and children. She is Co-Founder and Co-Director of Project TENDR (Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks), a national collaboration of leading scientists, health professionals, and advocates aimed at catalyzing action to reduce toxic chemical exposures contributing to learning and developmental disabilities. Swanson is a founding member of the Steering Committee of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families (SCHF) campaign, a national coalition of health, environmental, and parent groups, along with businesses, working to promote safer chemical policies. She testified before Congress on behalf of LDA in February 2009 on the need to revise the Toxic Substances Control Act to better protect children’s health.

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