Research Programs 

Some examples of our international research programs include:

 US, Italy, China, South Africa, Central America

From Seveso, Italy, where a chemical plant exploded in the 1970's to the agricultural Salinas Valley, California, where more than 9 million pounds of pesticides were used in 2012, to Limpopo, South Africa, where strong insecticides are used to combat malaria-carrying mosquitoes, CERCH studies the potential impacts of environmental exposures on children's health. Such factors include pesticides, flame retardants, chemicals in plastics, cosmetics and other consumer products and many other exposures. We also examine how the larger environment, including adversity, poverty, and cultural resilience, interact with chemical exposures. CERCH prioritizes engaging communities to inform study design, implementation, and dissemination and helping to identify key solutions to pressing environmental issues.  Click here for CERCH's 20 Year Overview.


Blood Sample Being Drawn by CHAMACOS Lab Technitian


The Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS) is a longitudinal cohort study of children examining exposures to pesticides and other chemicals and their potential health effects on growth, neurodevelopment and health. We have been conducting this study for 19 years and have been funded to continue for another 6 years of research.

CHAMACOS Maternal Cognition Study

The CHAMACOS Maternal Cognition Study is engaging CHAMACOS mothers in a unique research study to investigate how adverse social and environmental exposures across the lifecourse are associated with women's cognition and brain health at middle age.

CHAMACOS Young Adult Respiratory Health Study

 In this project, we will assess exposure to agricultural pesticides and particulate matter air pollution from pregnancy through 22 years of age and determine how these exposures work together to effect respiratory health in early adulthood.

CHAMACOS Epigenetics and Biological Aging Study

The CHAMACOS Epigenetics and Biological Aging Study is examining existing samples and data from CHAMACOS mothers and their children to test whether early life adversity and other social determinants of health, during pregnancy and in early childhood, are associated with epigenetic aging biomarkers that may influence childhood and adolescent obesity over time. The aim of the study is to better understand early-life biomarkers of risk that are captured in the epigenome of children.

PFAS Pilot Study

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are environmentally persistent chemicals of public health concern and clinical significance. This pilot study aims to assess the PFAS concentrations in drinking water and blood samples from a small sample of participants from the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS) study.


The COSECHA Study, (which stands for CHAMACOS of Salinas Evaluating Chemicals in Homes and Agriculture) is a youth participatory action research project using novel technologies to examine how Salinas Valley teens are exposed to pesticides used in fields near their homes.

HERMOSA Youth Researchers Lobbying in Sacramento


The Health and Environmental Research in Make-up of Salinas Adolescents (HERMOSA) showed that adolescent girls could reduce exposure to potentially hormone disrupting chemicals in personal care products by using low-chemical alternatives for 3 days.


The Lifting Up Communities by Intervening with Research (LUCIR) Study engaged the CHAMACOS Youth Council in estimating women's exposure to cleaning chemicals during normal home cleaning. When women switched to "green" cleaning products, we noted significant reductions in several chemicals that may increase the risk of cancer.

Youth Participatory Action Research for Air Quality Justice

Richmond Youth Air Quality Initiative

Several census tracts in Richmond, CA rank in the top percentiles for state-wide aggregate burden and community vulnerability. We collaborated with RYSE, and local Richmond youth to address gaps in scientific knowledge and improve community awareness.

Environmental Science through the Arts (ESTA)

ESTA is an NIH SEPA project conducted in collaboration with Monterey Bay Aquarium and Monterey County Office of Education and led by Cal State University Monterey Bay. We aim to educate teachers in California about environmental health issues, specifically, plastic pollution, climate change, and agricultural practices and how these issues are also tied to Ocean Health. Teachers work with their students using the arts to learn about human to ocean health.

Collaborators: Corin Slown (CSUMB) PI, Enid Ryce (CSUMB, Co-PI), Amir Attila (CSUMB), Asa Bradman (UC Merced), Brenda Eskenazi (CSUMB, UC Berkeley).

Reducing Pesticide Exposures to Preschool-Age Children in California Child Care Centers

 This randomized control study is designed to evaluate a child care health consultant-led integrated pest management (IPM) intervention in 88 child care centers serving socio-economically and ethnically diverse preschool-age children in four California counties. The goal of the intervention is to reduce the exposure to pesticides. Changes in IPM knowledge, policies, practices, pests, and pesticide exposure (measured in dust and by wristbands) will be assessed.

Environmental Quality in California Child Care Studies

Examining chemical exposures and improving environmental quality in child care settings in California, with the ultimate goal of protecting children’s health.

Farmworker COVID and Long COVID Studies

The Farmworker COVID studies examined COVID infection and development of Long COVID among California farmworkers.  Our 2020 study assessed risk factors for active and prior COVID-19 infections among Monterey County farmworkers.  Our 2022 follow-up study assessed prevalence and risk factors for Long COVID among farmworkers in Monterey and Tulare counties. 


The PESTROP study, which stands for Pesticide Use in Tropical Settings, is an inter- and trans-disciplinary research project, combining environmental monitoring, epidemiology, clinical examinations and exposure assessment with institutional and policy analysis, that aims to deepen the understanding of the environmental, health and regulatory dimensions of pesticide use in agriculture in two LMICs: Costa Rica and Uganda.

Michoacan Study

The Michoacan study aims to examine the impact of pesticide exposure and the COVID-19 pandemic among avocado farmworkers from Michoacán.


The VHEMBE Study investigates potential health effects resulting from the use of insecticides for malaria control in the Vhembe District of Limpopo, South Africa.

Seveso Women's Health Study

A historical cohort study started in 1976 investigating the effects of dioxin on the reproductive health of women exposed during an industrial accident in Seveso, Italy.

AGES Study

AGES study investigates the effects of age on human semen quality--genetic, epigenetic, and sperm quality.  We have studied how diet may impact these changes.  This study was originally funded by the Superfund project of NIH. This project is extant but we hope to incorporate new markers in the coming years. Collaborators: Brenda Eskenazi (UC Berkeley) PI, Andrew Wyrobek (LBL) Co-PI,. 


The China Benzene Sperm Study (C-BASS) investigated the association between exposure to benzene in the workplace and genetic damage to sperm in Tianjin, China.

Oxford Collaboration

We collaborate on various international birth cohort studies with Dr. Jose Villar, Dr. Stephen Kennedy and Dr. Aris Papageorghiou from the University of Oxford Maternal and Perinatal Health Institute ( Our role at CERCH is to develop analysis plans, conduct statistical analyses and provide epidemiological and statistical expertise to answer important questions regarding infant growth and development.


The San Joaquin Valley has some of the nation's worst air quality, often failing to meet federal
standards.  BiomSPHERE, the Biomonitoring component of the San Joaquin Valley Pollution and Health Environmental Research Study (SPHERE) 1 , is a study of air pollution exposures in parents and children in two San Joaquin Valley communities. This research is a collaboration between the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), UC Merced, Little Manila Rising, and the Central California Asthma Collaborative (CCAC) to assess exposures to air pollutants among families living in Fresno and Stockton.

Stockton Air Pollution Exposure Project (SAPEP)

Study of air pollution exposures in school children in Stockton.

High Car Traffic on the Bridge

East Bay Diesel Exposure Project

This project is a collaboration with the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) and will assess diesel exhaust exposure in communities along the Interstate 80 – Interstate 880 corridor on the east side of the San Francisco Bay.