EPA/NIEHS Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers (CEHCs)
Protecting Children’s Health for a Lifetime
For many reasons, children are likely to be more vulnerable than adults to the effects of environmental contaminants. To better understand the effects of these exposures on children's health, the EPA/NIEHS Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers ("Children's Centers") were established to explore ways to reduce children's health risks from environmental factors. The program is jointly funded by EPA through the Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grants program, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).
The long-range goals of the program include understanding how environmental factors affect children's health, and promoting translation of basic research findings into intervention and prevention methods to prevent adverse health outcomes.
Multidiscipilnary Program: fostering research collaborations among basic, clinical, and behavioral scientists with participation from local communities.
The EPA/NIEHS Children’s Centers continue to contribute to understanding complex interactions between the environment, genetics, and other factors and how those interactions may affect children’s health from preconception to young adulthood.
Emerging Areas of Research Include
- Obesity: What is the role of environmental factors in the epidemic of obesity among our nation’s children?
- Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: How are widespread exposures to chemicals that interfere with the body’s hormones affecting children, particularly during vulnerable windows of development?
- Epigenetics: How do modifications to DNA resulting from diet, aging, stress, and/or environmental exposures affect our children or our grandchildren?
Meeting Celebrates 15 years of the EPA/NIEHS Children’s Centers Research Program
The EPA/NIEHS Children’s Centers program celebrated the program’s 15th anniversary during Children’s Health Month in October, 2013 with a joint meeting with the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSUs). More than 200 people attended the 2-day meeting at the Omni Shoreham hotel in Washington, DC. The theme of the meeting was “Protecting Children’s Health for a Lifetime: Environmental Health Research Meets Clinical Practice and Public Policy.” Speakers included EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, EPA Office of Research and Development Acting Assistant Administrator Lek Kadeli, NIEHS Director Linda Birnbaum, principal investigators and researchers from the Children’s Centers and clinicians from the PEHSU program. A Congressional briefing held in conjunction with the meeting featured presentations from EPA Office of Research and Development Deputy Assistant Administrator Ramona Trovato, NIEHS Director Linda Birnbaum and Children’s Centers Principal Investigators Frederica Perera, Brenda Eskenazi and Gregory Diette. For more information and the meeting agenda, please see Calendar Event
New Study Shows Changes in Genes during Pregnancy May Cause Long-Term Health Effects in Children
A new study shows that a change in groups of genes turned "on" and "off” may last from before birth at least into early childhood. Children of mothers with a high body mass index (BMI) may show more of these changes, and could cause lasting health effects in children.
Mother’s Antibodies May Explain a Quarter of Autism Cases
EPA STAR-funded researchers have identified seven primary auto-antibodies and corresponding antigens that appear to be linked to maternal autoantibody-related (MAR) autism.
For these, and other articles about the centers, see the Newsroom.
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For audio and video clips featuring the Children's Centers, visit the Multimedia section.
|NIEHS/EPA Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers: Protecting Children's Health for a Lifetime (PDF) (4 pp, 1.08 MB)|