The Children’s Environmental Health Center offers an innovative program of mechanistic and epidemiologic research to fill pressing research and public health needs. The CEHC has made important contributions to the growing consensus that current levels of ambient air pollutants and tobacco smoke have substantial adverse effects on children's respiratory health.
- Investigate the role of ambient air pollutants and genetic susceptibility in airway inflammation and in asthma occurrence during childhood;
- Investigate the mechanism for the modulating effects of ambient air pollutants on allergic inflammation in children;
- Implement a community-based participatory research program to respond to community concerns about the effects of regional ambient air pollutants and locally emitted fresh vehicle exhaust on early life asthma;
- Provide a scientific resource for the broader community involved in protecting children's environmental health.
Key Research and Translation Questions:
- Do regional ambient air pollutants such as ozone or locally emitted fresh vehicle exhaust increase the risk of early life asthma?
- Is chronic airway inflammation a risk factor for new onset asthma?
- Do ambient air pollutants or locally emitted fresh vehicle exhaust produce chronic airway inflammation?
- Do levels of expression or polymorphic variants of genes in antioxidant pathways such as GSTM1 confer special airway sensitivity to air pollution?
- Which pollutants are responsible for the effects we see?
- Can scientific approaches and translation to the broader community involved in protecting children's environmental health be enhanced by community-based participatory research approaches?
Because the burden of airway disease and the numbers of children exposed to unhealthful air are large and growing, answers to these questions are urgently needed. The CEHC research program is answering these key questions using an integrated approach and unique population and exposure assessment resources.