CHAMACOS Study Examines Pesticide Effects on Children's Health

Photo Credit: Michelle Tribe Photo Credit: Michelle Tribe

The Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health (CERCH) at the University of California, Berkeley has been getting attention recently for its CHAMACOS project.  This research is a study that examines long-term effects of chemical exposure on the environment and children’s health.  Specifically, CERCH researchers are looking at how children are exposed to pesticides and other environmental chemicals, how these exposures are related to children’s growth, neurodevelopment, and health, the mechanisms that cause these health effects, and ways to reduce exposure.  The project started in 1999 when CERCH enrolled 601 pregnant women living in the Salinas Valley into the CHAMACOS study.  They have continued to follow the children, and in 2010 enrolled 300 additional 9-year olds into the cohort.  One of the novel and most successful aspects of the CHAMACOS study is its integration of community engagement in the research.  They not only examine issues effecting public health for reporting in scientific journals, but also empower communities to become involved in examining ways to decrease their exposure to dangerous chemicals such as pesticides.