Please join us in supporting NationalHealthySchoolsDay.org
on April 2

Children’s Environmental Health Institute to launch a social media campaign on April 2 aimed at bringing awareness of environmental health risks in schools.

Healthy High School PRIDE (Partnership in Research on InDoor Environments) 

The Children’s Environmental Health Institute is pleased to announce its partnership with the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at UT Austin.  A multidisciplinary team consisting of experts in children’s health, indoor air quality, microbiology, building science and community-engaged research will address how environmental conditions affect students’ health, attendance, and learning in high school, and how to offer low-cost, long-term solutions to help schools combat those affects.

The Healthy High School PRIDE (Partnership in Research on InDoor Environments), research was motivated by mounting scientific evidence that poor indoor air quality and inadequate classroom ventilation contribute to student illness and therefore absenteeism and decreases in academic performance.  “Our children and teachers spend a substantial amount of their lives inside school buildings,” said air quality expert Richard L. Corsi, Chair of the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at UT Austin. “We believe it is critical to gain a better understanding of this environment and its implications for health and learning, and we hope the solutions we create will be applied in schools across the country, giving our children a better environment for academic success.”

The UT Austin project identified common sources of indoor air quality problems in schools, such as poor ventilation, HVAC structural issues, and the presence of bacteria and chemical irritants.

Objectives of the Research: Past studies of indoor air quality (IAQ) in schools have been deficient in many ways. There has been little progress in determining the actual agents responsible for adverse effects when ventilation is inadequate. Environmental agents responsible for dampness-related health effects have not been determined. Few studies have focused on irritating oxygenated VOCs (OVOCs) and their sources. Schools in hot and humid climates have been under-represented and the focus to date has been on identifying IAQ problems in schools. Proven low-cost solutions are needed.

 Specific objectives included

(1) identifying systematic problems in school HVAC systems that cause poor ventilation rates, increased pollutant concentrations and adverse health symptoms for school occupants and explore low-cost solutions to these problems,
(2) utilizing molecular techniques to investigate relationships between composition and diversity of the microbial community present in school classrooms, environmental conditions, and health symptoms, 
(3) delineating the role of OVOCs on student and teacher health outcomes, and (4) engage high school student and teacher stewards in the design, data collection and outreach components of the project.

To mark National Public Health Week (April 2-6, 2018) national experts in education, childcare, and children’s health today issued a joint call to get the lead out of schools and childcare facilities. Their report, Eliminating Lead Risks in Schools and Child Care Facilities, is the first to set strategic priorities for reducing lead exposure to the more than 66 million children enrolled in schools and child care programs.

Nine more chemicals used in cosmetics identified
as potential EDCs

Personal care products and cosmetics are used on some of our most sensitive and intimate areas. Because they are directly applied to our skin, around our eyes, to our lips, and in our hair, the potential for exposure to EDCs increases when we use these products.  In this latest update of the TEDX List of Potential Endocrine Disruptors, evaluated 44 more cosmetic ingredients and added 9 that were not previously on their list. Research suggests that some cosmetic ingredients can disrupt the ability to reproduce, alter insulin function, or disrupt thyroid hormone signaling. Twenty-six of the 44 chemicals had no research studies on endocrine related endpoints, however, lack of evidence does not indicate a lack of harm.  The TEDX List helps individuals and organizations identify EDCs so that harmful exposures can be prevented. TEDX is always evaluating new chemicals. Make a suggestion for a future addition here.

Sperm concentration has declined 50 percent in 40 years in three continents

According to a new study, sperm counts in men from North America, Europe and Australia have dropped by more than 50 percent in less than 40 years. (Reuters).  See full report.


The Ninth Scientific Symposium: Emerging Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and the Unborn Child was conducted on Wednesday, March 29 in Austin Texas at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, Austin. 

Thank you to all participants, presenters and sponsors for contributing to another successful scientific symposium! 

The written evaluations uniformly substantiated the positive verbal feedback we received from the participants on the outstanding program.

Please feel free to contact CEHI with any additional questions that you may have or to submit your feedback on the event.

Click Here For All Symposium 2017 Information

Endocrine Society releases scientific statement on endocrine-disrupting chemicals

In the Scientific Statement released by the Endocrine Society, Dr. Andrea Gore, Professor and Vacek Chair of Pharmacology, The University of Texas at Austin, and Editor-in-Chief, of Endocrinology, stated “There is more conclusive evidence than ever before regarding how EDCs interfere with hormones and how that affects human health.”

The research offers insights into factors driving the rising rates of obesity and diabetes. About 35 percent of American adults are obese, and more than 29 million Americans have diabetes, according to the Society’s Endocrine Facts and Figures report.

The Scientific Statement reveals in their Executive Summary how emerging evidence ties endocrine disrupting chemical exposure to two of the biggest public health threats facing society – diabetes and obesity. Also, the neurodevelopment and neuroendocrine systems both regulate, and are regulated by hormones, and are highly sensitive to EDCs. These systems control reproductive, growth, stress and other functions.

The Scientific Statement examines evidence-linking EDCs to reproductive health problems, hormone-related cancers such as breast and ovarian cancer, prostate conditions, thyroid disorders and neurodevelopmental issues. Although many of these conditions were linked to EDCs by earlier research, the number of corroborating studies continues to mount. “It is clear we need to take action to minimize further exposure,” Gore said. “With more chemicals being introduced into the marketplace all the time, better safety testing is needed to identify new EDCs and ensure they are kept out of household goods.”

The Executive Summary of the Scientific Statement, which synthesizes 1300 studies on endocrine disrupters, posits that scientists are more confident than ever before in linking EDC substances to a host of known health issues, including reproductive and developmental problems, thyroid impairment, certain reproductive cancers, and neurodevelopmental problems such as decreased IQ. But studies suggest those links can now be extended to heart and weight problems, and diabetes.

Six years ago, scientists couldn’t make such a strong case for those links, Gore says, because there weren’t enough good studies. “But this has really been an emerging field where there is much stronger evidence now.”

The “Executive Summary to EDC-2: The Endocrine Society’s Second Scientific Statement on Endocrine-disrupting Chemicals,” was published online in Endocrine Reviews, a journal of the Endocrine Society, at http://press.endocrine.org/doi/10.1210/er.2015-1093

Project TENDR: A Call to Action to Prevent Neurodevelopmental Harm from Environmental Chemicals

A new alliance of leading scientists, medical experts, and children’s health advocates, including TEDX, are calling for immediate action to address the growing problem of neurodevelopmental disorders attributable to toxic chemical exposure.We believe the increasing risk of children having intellectual and learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, attention deficits, hyperactivity, and other maladaptive behaviors is unacceptable.There is ample scientific evidence to support a link between children’s risks for neurodevelopmental disorders and toxic chemicals in consumer products, food, air and water. Prime examples include certain pesticides, flame retardants, combustion related air pollutants, lead, mercury and PCBs.Project TENDR, which stands for “Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks,” is calling for immediate government action to reduce sources of exposure – by requiring removal of neurotoxic chemicals from food and consumer products, cleaning up environmental sources, and regulating industrial processes. Government agencies must also prevent exposure by improving assessment of neurodevelopmental harm. We are calling on businesses to eliminate such chemicals from supply chains and products, and urging health professionals to address environmental chemicals in patient care and public health practice.Go to the Project TENDR website to read the published consensus statement, see authors, supporting organizations and societies, read chemical and pollutant summaries, and learn what individuals can do to protect their families.  (Courtesy of The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Inc.)

Environmental Working Group Survey of canned-good brands finds endocrine disruptor hormone-mimicking compound still widely used.

In a survey of more than 250 brands of canned food, researchers found that more than 44 percent use bisphenol-A lined cans for some or all of their products.

See the full report here.

What are we doing to our children’s brains?

Environmental chemicals are wreaking havoc to last a lifetime

The numbers are startling. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1.8 million more children in the U.S. were diagnosed with developmental disabilities between 2006 and 2008 than a decade earlier. During this time, the prevalence of autism climbed nearly 300 percent, while that of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder increased 33 percent. CDC figures also show that 10 to 15 percent of all babies born in the U.S. have some type of neurobehavorial development disorder. Still more are affected by neurological disorders that don’t rise to the level of clinical diagnosis.  READ ARTICLE

CEHN conference logo

The Children’s Environmental Health Institute was honored to have served as a partner with the Children’s Environmental Health Network, Environmental Health Perspectives, and the International Society of Children’s Health and the Environment, to support the Children’s Environmental Research Conference on February 4-6, 2015, in Austin , Texas.   Click Here for Link to the Conference Page and/or attendee list.


2014 Biennial Scientific Symposium Conducted November, 2014

Message from Janie D. Fields, Executive Director

Thank you to the participants and to our partners who made our 2014 Scientific Symposium an inspiring and successful endeavor. It felt like a full circle journey to be back on the Colorado River at the McKinney Roughs Nature Center. It was fifteen years ago that we gathered there to host our first Biennial Scientific Symposium.

We are especially grateful for the support of our partners, the St. Susie Charitable Foundation, St. David’s Foundation, The United States Environmental Protection Agency, Reliant Energy, Austin Energy, Southwest Center for Pediatric Environmental Health, and the Texas Medical Association.   We also wish to acknowledge our appreciation to our service partners Special Audience Marketing and Concordia University.

The unseasonably wintry temperatures were not a deterrent to the fellowship and enthusiasm shared between participants and presenters.

It was bittersweet time at our 2014 Scientific Symposium to say farewell to beloved members of the board of directors, Dr. Martin Lorin and Dr. Donald Dudley. Best wishes to Dr. Lorin on his well earned and deserved retirement from Professor, Baylor College of Medicine and Attending Physician, Texas Children’s Hospital and congratulations to Dr. Dudley in his new position as the William P. Moore Professor and Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Virgina School of Medicine. It is our good fortune is that both Dr. Lorin and Dr. Dudley will continue to serve an advisory capacity to the Children’s Environmental Health Institute.

Also, the 2014 Scientific Symposium provided an opportunity to welcome an eminent leader in the field of environmental health risk prevention, Dr. Claudia Miller, to the CEHI Board of Directors.   Dr. Miller serves as Visiting Senior Scientist, Harvard School of Public Health, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Texas School of Medicine, San Antonio, Assistant Dean, MD/MPH Program, Vice Chair, Community Medicine, Department of Family and Community Medicine and as the Founder and Director of the South Texas Environmental Education and Research (STEER) Program, University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio.

Indeed, CEHI celebrated our 15th anniversary this year. We have taken this journey together with many of the readers of this message and I am reminded of my favorite Kahlil Gibran quote, “Work is love made visible”.   As we look forward to the New Year and renewing our strategic plan, we hope that together we will  expand our outreach and efforts to promote how the health of our children is inextricably linked to their environment.

Kindest regards,
Janie D. Fields

Click here for link to the 2014 Symposium Page for the Program Syllabus and all supporting information.


CEHI Releases Executive Summary of Houston Roundtable

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Children’s Environmental Health Institute, it is my pleasure to present the Executive Summary from the Houston Roundtable Discussion on the Environment Related to Asthma and Respiratory Diseases in Pre-School and School-Age Children. We want to extend to all of the presenters, participants, sponsors, staff and supporters an expression of appreciation for their time and effort on behalf of this project to improve the quality of health for current and future generations in the Greater Houston Area.

Martin Lorin, M.D., Steering Committee Chair
Children’s Environmental Health Institute
Professor Baylor College of Medicine
Texas Children’s Hospital
Houston, Texas

Click Here To Open Houston Roundtable Executive Summary PDF In A New Window

Click Here for Houston Roundtable FULL Final Report pdf

The Houston Roundtable Discussion focused on environmental health risks related to asthma and respiratory disease in the Greater Houston Area.  Houston has made much progress, and yet many unknown or missed opportunities remain to protect children from exposure to toxics in the air they breathe and where they live, learn, and play.  In addition, the Roundtable Discussion addressed policy-making opportunities and the importance of over-arching approaches to support education and action plans to to decrease asthma and respiratory disease in children.

Rich and Dr. Lorin compressed and cropped

Dr. Martin Lorin, CEHI Board Member and Chair of the Roundtable Discussion with keynote speaker, Dr. Richard Corsi, The University of Texas, Department Chair, Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering and Co-Director, Center for Sustainable Development.

We wish to recognize and thank the sponsors of the Roundtable Initiative and Discussion. Undertaking the Houston Roundtable Initiative and Discussion would not have been possible to do without the support and financial contributions from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region 6, Saint Susie Charitable Foundation, the Texas Children’s Health Plan, Kirksey Architects, Reliant Energy, the Southwest Center for Pediatric Environmental Health,  the Houston Department of Health and Human Services (List Sponsors).  In addition, words cannot adequately express our gratitude to the Roundtable Discussion members for their time, skills and support in participating in conference calls, planning committee meetings.   Their generosity in reserving the full measure of a day from their calendar to serve on the Roundtable Discussion reflects their dedication to improving the quality of life for all children.

Group Photo compressed___________________________________________________________

Towards Healthy Schools 2015 Report Now Available!

The Towards Healthy Schools 2015 Report cites multiple studies documenting the benefits of healthy indoor learning environments on attendance and achievement, then presents state-level data and policy summaries. (Click report cover below to link to the full report).






Spotlight on CEHI Student Volunteer


Upasana Prabhu, freshman at Westlake High School and CEHI volunteer, with her parents at the reception at the Dell Children’s Medical Center for the Seventh Biennial Scientific Symposium,  How School Environments Affect the Health and Educational Performance of Students, hosted by the Children’s Environmental Health Institute (CEHI).  To read Upasana’s address to the participants, please go here .



Picture the Children Photo Exhibit

Children and Their Food

Sponsored by the Whole Kids Foundation

The Children and Their Food Photo Exhibit debuted in October 2012, during National School Lunch Week, at CEHI’s Seventh Biennial Scientific Symposium at the Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas.

The Picture the Children program of the Children’s Environmental Health Institute (CEHI) is an approach to evoke an emotional experience for the viewers to envision the unique relationship children experience in their environment and the impact on their wellbeing. The images document the joy, discovery and positive health outcomes children experience in natural and healthy environments.

WaffleIn partnership with the Whole Kids Foundation, the focus is on children and their relationship with food for the Picture the Children Photo Exhibit. In an effort to advance the discussion about children’s health and their environment, select photographers were invited to turn their lenses toward children and their food. Photographers were selected by the Advisory Panel to submit photographs representing the relationship between children and food.

Eating is a learned behavior. Healthy eating in childhood and adolescence is important for proper growth and development and is associated with reduced risk for many diseases, including several of the leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Poor nutrition is a major cause of health problems such as obesity and chronic disease, which are now increasingly beginning in childhood.

Jury Members:

Susanna Finnell, PhD, Jury Chair

Marla Camp, Owner and Publisher of Edible Austin

Marise McDermott, President & CEO, Witte Museum, San Antonio, Texas

Lise Ragbir, Owner of Ragbir Art, Art Consultant

Penny De Los Santos, Senior Contributing photographer to Saveur Magazine and a regular contributing photographer for National Geographic Magazine and Martha Stewart Living

To view the Picture the Children: Children in Nature Photo Exhibit by Roberto “Bear Guerra” go to http://bearguerra.com/children-in-nature/.

Leave a Reply