Mount Sinai Center for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research (2003-2010)
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Center Director: Mary S. Wolff
Project 1: Growing Up Healthy in East Harlem
The Mount Sinai Center for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research was established in 1998 as an interdisciplinary Center to address the neurodevelopmental impacts of pesticides, lead and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). The flexibility and infrastructure of the Center program made it possible to shift the focus to newly emerging toxins in the second 5-year cycle. The goals of the Center are to elucidate mechanisms of neurodevelopmental impairment in inner-city children and to investigate relationships between exposure to environmental factors, inner-city toxicants, genetic differences, fetal growth and development.
The three current projects in the Mount Sinai Children's Center address endocrine disruptors, chemicals that disrupt healthy bodily function by imitating or blocking the normal flow of hormones, and other factors in the urban "built environment" neighborhood characteristics, access to healthy food and safe play spaces that appear to influence the risk of obesity, early onset of puberty in children, and possibly neurologic function. The projects utilize precise measures of physical activity, obesity and biomarkers (found in urine and saliva) of environmental exposures as well as measures of individual susceptibility genetic polymorphisms in ED-related genes.
Primary Environmental Exposures: Endocrine disruptors and factors in the urban built environment
Primary Health Outcomes: Body size, physical activity, neurodevelopmental impairment, biomarkers (urine and saliva), determinants of puberty including age at each stage of breast development, maternal and child stress.
Project 1: Growing Up Healthy in East Harlem (Community-Based Participatory Research)
This community-based participatory research (CBPR) project is studying childhood obesity in relation to structural features and endocrine disruptor (ED) exposures in the urban built environment of East Harlem. The specific objective of this project is to assess accessibility to physical activity resources and to healthy foods.
Project 2: Pesticides, Endocrine Disruptors, Childhood Growth and Development (Birth Cohort)
The objective of this research project is to complete a continuing prospective epidemiologic study of an ethnically diverse birth cohort of infants born at Mount Sinai.
Project 3: Genetics of Phthalate and Bisphenol A Risk in Minority Populations (Individual Susceptibility)
The objective of this research project is to study seven genetic polymorphisms in the enzymes that activate and detoxify organophosphates and other pesticides in the population of mothers and infants enrolled in project Pesticides, Endocrine Disruptors, Childhood Growth and Development (Birth Cohort).
Project 1: Growing Up Healthy in East Harlem
This project is examining the built-environment, or neighborhood characteristics, associated endocrine disruptor (ED) exposures, and their effects on child growth and development. The project looks at differing levels of chemicals from things like plastic and their effect on children.
Project 2: Exposure to Indoor Pesticides and PCBs and their effects on Growth and Neurodevelopment in Urban Children
This project is a prospective epidemiological study to characterize associations between maternal exposures to EDs including pesticides, plastic, and vehicle exhaust during pregnancy and infant development in a birth cohort. Measuring these levels in pregnant women and their children shortly after birth and measuring the children's development will helps researchers chart exactly how and why EDs have the effect they do.
Project 3: Genetics of Chlorpyrifos Risk in Minority Populations
Investigators are continuing in this project to develop measures of individual susceptibility, focusing on metabolism of EDs. Studies of susceptibility factors in concert with environmental exposures and in relation to development are being undertaken with families in Project 2. These studies look at the genetic and molecular level effect of EDs on children and how they can be identified.
Project 4: Prenatal PCB Exposure and Neurodevelopmental Outcomes in Adolescence and Adulthood
Subjects are a sub-cohort 162 African-Americans from the Collaborative Perinatal Project (CPP) cohort enrolled at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center (CPMC). The aim of the phase 2 project is to evaluate the relation of prenatal PCB exposure to neurodevelopmental outcomes at age 39 and over the life course through that age in the same sub-cohort studied in phase 1.
Project 5: Neuroendocrine Mechanisms of Environmental Toxicants: PCBs and Pesticides
Our final research project is an experimental neurodevelopmental study that is intended to elucidate the mechanism by which PCBs and other environmental agents adversely affect neuroendocrine and early reproductive development. Using a female rat model, this project will examine the role of developing GnRH neurons and their neuronal and glial inputs in the neuroendocrine dysfunctions that occur in organisms exposed to environmental toxicants.
The Mount Sinai Children’s Center is also conducting the World Trade Center Pregnancy Outcome Study following a cohort of women who were pregnant on 9/11/01 and were directly exposed to airborne toxicants at the WTC site. Among the factors being measured are child development, environmental exposures, maternal and child stress.
- Boriken Neighborhood Health Center
- The Childrens Aid Society
- East Harlem Community Health Committee
- Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service
- Mount Sinai and North General Hospital Pediatric Clinics
- Mount Sinai School of Medicine Community Partnerships
- Settlement Health
- Union Settlement Association
The main goal of the Mount Sinai Community Outreach and Translation Core (COTC) is to develop, implement and evaluate strategies to translate scientific findings on childrens environmental health into information that can be used by the local community, policy makers and clinical professionals.