Young Adult Respiratory Health Study

Prenatal and Lifetime Exposure to Pesticides and Particulate Matter and Respiratory Health in Young Adults from the CHAMACOS Birth Cohort Study

This project focuses on the respiratory health of young Mexican American adults living in an agricultural community for whom we have collected extensive information for over 20 years since their mothers were pregnant. 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. The long-term goal of our research is to identify modifiable factors related to respiratory health in a birth cohort that has reached young adulthood. Our findings will help inform future policies related to pesticide use and air quality designed to protect respiratory health.

Study at a Glance

  • Study Objectives:
    • To assess whether associations observed in the CHAMACOS cohort between individual pesticide exposures (OPs, sulfur and EBDC fungicides) and lung function at 7y will persist into early adulthood and will be further related to decreased growth in lung function from 7 to 22 years.
    • To determine the association of exposure to a mixture of pesticides (OPs, sulfur, and EDBCs) and particulate matter (PM2.5) components with respiratory symptoms, asthma, FeNO, and lung function in adulthood.
    • To characterize associations of pesticide and PM2.5 exposures with the nasal methylome and evaluate whether epigenetic signatures in target tissue serve as biomarkers of environmental exposures and respiratory health
  • Participants: Around 500 currently participating young adults
  • Study Tools: Spirometry testing, exhaled nitric oxide testing, total IgE levels, epigenetic methylation analysis of nasal swabs, anthropometric data, questionnaire data
  • Community Partners: Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Robert Gunier
  • Co-Investigators: Dr. Brenda Eskenazi, Dr. Nina Holland, Dr. Andres Cardenas, Dr. John Balmes, Dr. Stephanie Holm
  • Funders: National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
  • Contact: Dr. Robert Gunier at