CHAMACOS Logo and Agricultural Worker in Field Working with Machine

BREAKING REPORT: "Prevalence and Predictors of SARS-COV-2 Infection Among Farmworkers in Monterey County, CA" (CLICK HERE)

The Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS) Study is the longest running longitudinal birth cohort study of pesticides and other environmental exposures among children in a farmworker community. CHAMACOS means “little children” in Mexican Spanish, which reflects the population we serve.

Starting in 1999, we enrolled pregnant women living in California's Salinas Valley, one of the most productive agricultural regions in the nation. We have followed these families for 19 years, measuring exposures to pesticides and other chemicals and assessing children’s growth, health, and development every 1-2 years. In 2010-2011, we expanded the study by enrolling additional 9-year-old children into the cohort. More than 600 children continue to participate in the study and will be followed until adulthood. We have recently secured funding to continue this work and are currently focusing on children's neurodevelopment and risk taking behaviors as participants transition into their late teens and early adulthood. The CHAMACOS Study has spearheaded almost 150 publications, shedding light on critical environmental exposures and health.

CHAMACOS Staff Measuring Height of Youth

Study at a Glance:

  • Study Objectives: Characterize environmental health exposures during pregnancy and childhood and determine their effects on neurodevelopment and behavior, respiratory symptoms, obesity, puberty, and other health outcomes.
  • Geographic Area: Salinas Valley, CA
  • Participants:More than 800 children (536 followed since birth, 305 followed since age 9) and their mothers
  • Study Tools: Biological (blood, urine, saliva, etc) and environmental (dust) samples, neurodevelopmental tests, lung function tests, anthropometric data, questionnaire data, etc.
  • Community Partners: Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas and Natividad Medical Center
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Brenda Eskenazi
  • Funders: National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Environment Innovation Fund of the Passport Foundation
  • Contact: Dr. Brenda Eskenazi at or Kim Harley at