LUCIR Study Youth Participatory Action Research

Nearly everyone uses cleaning products. On average, more cleaning tasks are done by women than men, while the vast majority of professional household cleaners in California are Latina women. Yet, little is publicly known about what chemicals are in these products, and companies are not required to disclose all of this information. Several previous studies indicate that some products contain chemicals which may adversely affect people's health.

The Lifting Up Communities by Intervening with Research (LUCIR, which means "to shine", and "to show" in Spanish) study was designed to engage high school aged students in the CHAMACOS Youth Council in environmental health research, characterizing what chemicals are in popular household cleaning products in a lab at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and estimating exposures to chemicals that women may be inhaling while doing their normal cleaning work using a special air pump backpack. We then replaced these products with "green" products, and noted significant reductions in several carcinogens, chemicals that may increase your risk of cancer. Youth Council members are currently leading community education activities.

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Our youth researchers made an animated series to tell about our study and how to protect your family! Please click the links below, watch and share them:

LUCIR PSA Screenshot II                LUCIR PSA Screenshot

                         ESPAÑOL                                                               ENGLISH

LUCIR Youth's Creative Writing Series

Study at a Glance:

  • Study ObjectivesCharacterize chemicals in common household cleaning products, estimate exposures during normal cleaning practices, and determine whether substituting these products with "green" products reduces potential exposures
  • Geographic Area: Salinas, CA
  • Study Tools: Laboratory testing of popular cleaning products, active breathing zone air sampling, ambient air pollutant sampling, and questionnaires
  • Community Partner: La Clinica de Salud de Valle Salinas and 8 local youth research assistants 
  • Principal Investigators: Dr. Kim Harley and Ms. Norma Calderon
  • Study Manager: Mr. James Nolan
  • Funder: California Breast Cancer Research Program
  • Contact: James Nolan,

What We Did:

High school aged youth research assistants from the Salinas area worked with UC Berkeley scientists to design the LUCIR study. Youth did all the recruiting, interviewing, data collection, and community education. Together, we:

  • Enrolled 50 Latina women 
  • Inventoried the cleaning products they regularly used in their homes
  • Used air monitoring backpacks to measured the chemicals women were breathing while they cleaned their homes
  • Gave them low-chemical, “green” cleaning products to use instead
  • Measured chemicals in the air while they cleaned with the “green” products to see if we could reduce their exposures.