CERCH is a world leader in researching and highighting key aspects of environmental health risks, especially as they impact pregnant women and their children. To accomplish this mission, we investigate exposures to future parents and children and evaluate long term effects on child health, behavior, and development. We work to help key stakeholders translate our research findings into sustainable strategies to reduce environment-related childhood disease, directly involving local communities in the process.
Why study children?
Children are more vulnerable to hazards in the environment than adults.
- Children have a greater degree of exposure to environmental factors than adults because they breathe more air, eat more food, and drink more water per unit of body weight.
- Because children exhibit exploratory behaviors that place them in direct contact with contaminated surfaces, they are more likely to be exposed to any contaminants present (putting items and hands in mouths, crawling, etc.).
- They are also less immunologically, physiologically, and neurologically developed and therefore may be more susceptible to the adverse effects of chemicals and toxins.
Why study pregnant women?
- There is emerging evidence that some of the health challenges mothers face are can be passed on to their offspring.
- Developing fetuses may also be more susceptible than fully developed humans, meaning that the exposures a mother faces may impact her child even more.
- Since fetuses are still developing, what might otherwise be harmless exposures might be multiplied in their effects.