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Contact Region 9

Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Children's Environmental Health

New Multimedia eBook A Story of Health Now Available
Where Children Live, Learn and Play
Children's Health Topics
Potential Environmental Hazards

About Children’s Environmental Health

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Regional Information

Regional Children's Environmental Health Contact
Jacquelyn Menghrajani
(415) 972-3259

Questions about Lead?

Marjorie Xavier
(415) 947-4164

Questions about Environmental Education?
Jorine Campopiano (campopiano.jorine@epa.gov)

Questions about Indoor Air Quality & Asthma?

Monique Nivolon
(415) 947-4195

Download the eBook "A Story of Health"A Story of Health is a multimedia eBook that explores how our environments interact with our genes to influence health across the lifespan. For more information and to download the eBook, please visit A Story of HealthExiting EPA (disclaimer)

Children are often more heavily exposed to toxics in the environment. Pound for pound, children breathe more air, drink more water, and eat more food than adults. Their behavior patterns, such as playing close to the ground and hand-to-mouth activity, increase their exposure to potential toxics. In addition, they may be more vulnerable to environmental hazards because their systems are still developing, often making them less able than adults to metabolize, detoxify, and excrete toxics. Environmental risks to children include asthma-exacerbating air pollution, lead-based paint in older homes, treatment-resistant microbes in drinking water, and persistent chemicals that may cause cancer or induce reproductive or developmental changes. Learn more.

Children’s Environmental Health in the Pacific Southwest

EPA's Pacific Southwest Office undertakes several activities to address children’s environmental health issues. These include activities to reduce children’s exposure to lead, environmental asthma triggers, pesticides, mercury, and other contaminants in home, school, and childcare environments. Contact our Children’s Environmental Health Program for more information.

In addition to our regional office’s programmatic activities, EPA supports the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units and the Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers.

Region 9 Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units

The Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSU) are a network of experts in children's environmental health located throughout North America. The PEHSU was created to ensure that health professionals and communities have access to specialized medical knowledge and resources for children faced with a health risk due to a natural or human-made environmental hazard.

The Region 9 PEHSU main office is located at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and there is a satellite office located at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). Both are available to answer questions from healthcare professionals, parents, care givers, and others about children's symptoms that may be related to environmental exposures. Whatever your concern, please know the PEHSU shares your dedication to children's health and well-being.

Contact Information

UCSF PEHSU Exiting EPA (disclaimer)
Email: pehsu@ucsf.edu
Phone: 415-206-4083 (local); 1-866-827-3478 (toll free)

UCI PEHSU Exiting EPA (disclaimer)
Email: mkoebler@uci.edu
Phone: 949-824-1857 (local); 1-866-827-3478 (toll free)

Region 9 Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers

To better understand the effects of environmental exposures on children's health, the EPA and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences established joint Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers ("Children's Centers") to explore ways to reduce children's health risks from environmental factors. There are currently five Children’s Centers in Region 9.

UC Berkeley Center for Integrative Research on Childhood Leukemia
Scientists at this center are examining how early exposure to chemicals might contribute to the occurrence of leukemia in children. Leukemia is the most common type of childhood cancer. Research at this center focuses on the effects of pesticides, tobacco-related contaminants, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs, or brominated flame retardants) in the womb and early in life. To determine if and how, early exposure to such chemicals might cause childhood leukemia, scientists are trying to identify which chemicals are associated with a higher risk for leukemia and are looking at how these chemicals interact with genes known to be involved in leukemia development. More information is available on the UC Berkeley Center for Integrative Research on Childhood Leukemia websiteExiting EPA (disclaimer)

UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health
The research activities at this center are based in the Salinas Valley, California, an agricultural region where vast quantities of organophosphate (OP) pesticides are applied each year on agricultural fields. This center’s work focuses on learning about and preventing environmental exposures to the children of low-income families, many of whom are farm workers and immigrants from Mexico. The largest project of this center is the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS, which means young children in Mexican Spanish). This ongoing study examines the health effects of children’s exposure to pesticides, flame retardants, and social factors such as housing quality and neighborhood conditions. More information is available on the UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health websiteExiting EPA (disclaimer)

UC Berkeley/Stanford Children’s Environment Health Center
The overall goal of this center is to better understand the effects of exposure in the womb to air pollutants and airborne bacteria on newborn health, immune system health during childhood, and the relationship of these early-life exposures to asthma in children. The study is being conducted in California’s San Joaquin Valley, which has some of the highest levels of air pollutants in the country. As one of California’s fastest-growing areas, the region includes both industrial farming and expanding cities surrounded by mountains on three sides, which can trap air pollutants within the Central Valley.

UC Davis Center for Children’s Environmental Health
Researchers at this center are studying how environmental exposures interact with a person’s genes and immune system to influence the risk and severity of autism.  Autism is a complex developmental disability which affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Through both epidemiological and rodent models, the center’s scientists are looking into how environmental triggers affect brain development. They are also examining how biological markers, such as those related to immune system dysfunction, could help clarify why some children develop developmental disorders. Researchers are assessing whether development disorders are related to exposure to a wide range of environmental toxicants, including methylmercury and halogenated organics (e.g., PCBs and PBDEs). The aim of this center is to improve autism diagnosis and treatment, and better inform the public about managing and preventing developmental disorders. More information is available on the UC Davis Center for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention websiteExiting EPA (disclaimer)

UC San Francisco Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Center
Researchers at this center are exploring how to measure intrauterine exposures to chemicals and how to study their health effects on early development. Early life exposure to chemicals can lead to adverse birth outcomes such as preterm delivery, low birth weight and greater risk for chronic illnesses later in life, such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. This center focuses on early exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that may interfere with a person’s hormonal system. The research findings will also help scientists learn about the effects of other hormone-disrupting chemicals. The center aims to develop new methods for early identification of harmful environmental exposures, and identify how to prevent diseases that may be triggered through such exposures.

News and Upcoming Events

EPA Welcomes Dr. Ruth Etzel as the Director of the Office of Children's Health Protection

EPA welcomes Dr. Ruth Etzel as the new Director of the Office of Children's Health Protection and senior advisor to the EPA Administrator. Dr. Etzel brings a breadth and depth of experience and a passion for children's health to EPA. As a physician and epidemiologist, she has been a strong advocate for children and has worked on variety of issues, including the removal of mercury in indoor paint and the ban on smoking in U.S. airliners. Dr. Etzel has studied air pollutants leading to asthma and conducted investigations on epidemics, including food borne illnesses and exposures to chemicals and pesticides. She also worked on investigating exposure to burning oil wells during the first Gulf War. Dr. Etzel comes to the EPA from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, where she was a Professor of Epidemiology. Previously, she led the Children's Environmental Health Unit at the World Health Organization in Geneva. She also has a wide portfolio of federal experience as a Commissioned Officer in the United States Public Health Service, including tenures at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Agriculture and the Indian Health Service.

New Multimedia eBook A Story of Health Now Available

A Story of Health is a multimedia eBook that explores how our environments interact with our genes to influence health across the lifespan. Told through the lives of fictional characters and their families - Brett, a young boy with asthma; Amelia, a teenager with developmental disabilities; and toddler Stephen, recently diagnosed with leukemia. Each fictional case features the latest scientific research about disease origin and helpful facts about disease prevention. Colorful illustrations, graphics and videos enhance each page. Links to a wide range of additional resources and hundreds of scientific papers enrich each story with information you can use today to promote health and prevent disease. Continuing education credits are available for health professionals.

For more information and to download the eBook, please visit A Story of HealthExiting EPA (disclaimer) Note: The PDFs work best when saved to your computer.

Environmental Health Perspectives Releases its Children's Health Collection 2014

Children’s Health Collection 2014 comprises abstracts of all relevant articles published in Environmental Health Perspectives from October 2013 through September 2014: peer-reviewed research articles, news features, Science Selections, and editorials. Abstracts are featured for each research article, and hyperlinks take readers directly to the full article online. The three main sections—Disease Outcomes, Exposures, and Methodologies and Populations—contain all research that has appeared in the Children’s Health section of each EHP issue as well as relevant reviews and commentaries, research that involves both adult and child cohorts and both animal and human components, adult diseases with fetal or childhood origins, experimental models with direct application to children’s health, and topics of general interest to children’s health researchers and advocates.

EPA/NIEHS Children's Centers 2015 Webinar Series: The Role of Environmental Exposure in Childhood Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome and Neurobehavioral Abnormalities
February 11, 2015, 10 – 11:30 a.m.

The causes of the childhood epidemics of neurodevelopmental disorders, obesity and its metabolic consequences, including diabetes, are not well understood. Emerging evidence suggests that exposure to common environmental chemicals, prenatally and across the course of childhood, may contribute to these outcomes. Investigators from the Children’s Environmental Health Centers will present new results on associations of ambient air pollutants, metals and endocrine disrupting chemicals with obesity and metabolic disease, and will describe potential biological pathways explaining these effects. Endocrine disrupting chemicals may target multiple organ systems, including neurobehavioral abnormalities also under study in Children’s Center cohorts. Register here.

EPA Now Accepting Applications for the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educations – Due March 13, 2015

The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators recognizes outstanding kindergarten through grade 12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning for their students. Up to two teachers from each of EPA's 10 regions, from different states, will be selected to receive this award. The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers this award to honor, support and encourage educators who incorporate environmental education in their classrooms & teaching methods. Teacher awardees will receive a Presidential award plaque and an award of up to $2,500 to be used to further the recipient's professional development in environmental education. Teacher awardees will also receive a congratulatory letter from a senior official from EPA and/or the White House.

Webinars to Promote and Sustain Healthy Schools

Please see the EPA Schools website for additional details and previously recorded webinars.

Check back soon for upcoming webinars.


Sign up to receive the monthly EPA Region 9 Clean, Green, and Healthy Schools E-Newsletter!

The monthly e-newsletter provides information on current school news from across the country, funding opportunities, and green school meetings, conferences, and events. Please email the EPA Region 9 Healthy Schools Coordinator, Eric Canteenwala (canteenwala.eric@epa.gov), if you’re interested to receive this monthly e-newsletter.

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