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2012

NIEHS's New Strategic Plan: 2012-2017

NIEHS's New Strategic Plan: 2012-2017

August 1, 2012 – NIEHS director introduces the 2012-2017 strategic plan for NIEHS, "Advancing Science Improving Health: A Plan for Environmental Health Research." NIEHS, with the help of its stakeholders, lays out a plan that has descriptive strategic themes and 11 goals that are identified as priority areas for the field. As the NIEHS moves forward, our overall goal is to make the institute, including the National Toxicology Program (NTP), the foremost trusted source of environmental health knowledge, leading the field in innovation and the application of research to solve health problems.

Full Highlight: NIEHS's New Strategic Plan: 2012-2017

Tags: Toxicity, children's health, genes, lung

2009

Exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) of 'some concern' for children's health

Image of BPA Can

In 2009, NIEHS-funded researchers studying bisphenol A, or BPA, met at NIEHS with other scientists from academia and government who were already studying the chemical for potential public health risks. The chemical, one among a group known as endocrine disruptors, is found in plastics such as food containers, water bottles, and baby bottles. It has been present in hard plastic bottles and metal-based food and beverage cans since the 1960s.

Full Highlight: Exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) of 'some concern' for children's health

Tags: National Toxicology Program, children's health

2009

Prenatal Exposure to air pollution reduces child's IQ

smokestacks

NIEHS-funded researchers at the Columbia University Center for Children's Environmental Health found that a mother's exposure to urban air pollutants while she is pregnant can result in a lower intelligence quotient, or IQ, in the child she is carrying. The study examined effects of exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, released into the air from burning coal, diesel, oil, and gas. Researchers studied women in the New York City area and found that children of these women, who were exposed to high levels of PAHs in utero, have an IQ that is, on average, four points lower. That difference could be important in terms of success in school for affected children.

Full Highlight: Prenatal Exposure to air pollution reduces child's IQ

Tags: IQ, air, children's health

2007

Prenatal exposure to mercury can reduce child's IQ

seven babies sitting and playing

NIEHS-funded researchers, collaborating with scientists from the Danish Medical Research Council and following up on earlier findings, noted cognitive deficits in 14-year-old children of Faroe Island children exposed prenatally to mercury. An earlier study funded jointly by NIEHS and the European Commission’s Climate Research Programme found in 1997 that some developmental delays in 7-year-old children whose mothers, while pregnant, consumed fish and whale tainted with methylmercury. These deficits tended to increase when adjusted for the beneficial effects of maternal intake during pregnancy.

Full Highlight: Prenatal exposure to mercury can reduce child's IQ

Tags: children's health

2005

NIEHS spearheads effort to evaluate environmental factors in childhood obesity epidemic

Girl jumping down a sidewalk

NIEHS brings together national and community leaders with researchers to determine how a child's environment increases the risk for obesity and to identify ways the environment can be changed to address this health epidemic. More than 700 people gathered for the two-day conference, "Environmental Solutions to Obesity in America's Youth."

Full Highlight: NIEHS spearheads effort to evaluate environmental factors in childhood obesity epidemic

Tags: children's health

2002

Children who play outdoors more likely to develop asthma

little girl on a swing

An NIEHS-funded study of children’s health and asthma showed that children who play an abundance of outdoor sports in areas where ozone levels are high may be three times more likely to develop asthma than children who do not take part in outdoor sporting activities. Researchers found there was no increased risk in areas where the ozone levels were low.

Full Highlight: Children who play outdoors more likely to develop asthma

Tags: children's health

2001

Fathers' genetic birth defect more likely to pass to offspring

gneder dice

After analysis of more than 450,000 birth records, children's health researchers discovered that men and women with birth defects have a higher risk of passing that defect on to their children. Children of mothers are not at increased risk for defects other than the one carried by the mother, but researchers found children of fathers with birth defects have a significantly higher risk of birth defects of any kind.

Full Highlight: Fathers' genetic birth defect more likely to pass to offspring

Tags: children's health, genes

2001

Lead-poisoned boys are more aggressive, delinquent

blistered paint

Children's health researchers found that boys with relatively high levels of lead in their bones are more likely to engage in aggressive acts and delinquent behavior than boys with lower bone-lead levels. Follow-up studies also associated high blood-lead levels with antisocial acts. This longitudinal study's initial results, announced in 1996, were confirmed. The study linked both prenatal and postnatal lead exposure to aggression and antisocial behavior.

Full Highlight: Lead-poisoned boys are more aggressive, delinquent

Tags: children's health, lead

2001

Modest ozone exposure related to increased school absences

downtown core of a city covered in smog

Children's health researchers and grantees from the University of Southern California publish reports showing modest increases in ambient ozone concentration are associated with increases in school absenteeism.

Full Highlight: Modest ozone exposure related to increased school absences

Tags: children's health

1998

Children's Environmental Health Centers established

developmental stages of children

NIEHS and the Environmental Protection Agency announced their joint funding for the creation of eight Children's Environmental Health Centers to be located across the country.

Full Highlight: Children's Environmental Health Centers established

Tags: children's health

1998

Women can pass lead to infants via breast milk

lead and bismuth on the periodic table

Children's health researchers discovered that lead that has accumulated in a woman's bones from earlier exposures can be released during pregnancy and transferred to breast milk during lactation.

Full Highlight: Women can pass lead to infants via breast milk

Tags: children's health, lead, women's health

1996

Prenatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) reduces IQ in children

balled up test sheet with a broken pencil infront

Children's health researchers demonstrated that children who are exposed to relatively small amounts of PCBs before birth have higher rates of low-normal IQ scores, poor reading comprehension, and memory problems.

Full Highlight: Prenatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) reduces IQ in children

Tags: IQ, children's health

1980

NTP issues 1st Report on Carcinogens

national toxicoligy program mast head

The National Toxicology Program released the 1st Report on Carcinogens, which listed 26 chemicals and industrial processes with potentially harmful effects on human health. The Report on Carcinogens is an informational scientific and public health document that identifies and discusses agents that may pose a hazard to human health by virtue of their carcinogenicity. It lists these agents in two categories - "known to be human carcinogens" and "reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens." Some examples of substances identified as known to be carcinogenic include benzene; asbestos; dioxin, such as 2,3,7,8- Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin; environmental tobacco smoke; and tobacco smoking. The NTP is currently reviewing additional nominations for possible listing in or removal from the 12th Report on Carcinogens. The NTP has identified additional nominations that it may consider for review as either a new listing in or changing the current listing in the 12th RoC.

Full Highlight: NTP issues 1st Report on Carcinogens

Tags: children's health, lead

1979

Cognitive, behavioral development delayed in children exposed to lead

School boy

Children's health researchers demonstrated that exposure to very low levels of lead during early childhood can lead to significant delays in cognitive and behavioral development.

Full Highlight: Cognitive, behavioral development delayed in children exposed to lead

Tags: children's health, lead

1975

Animal models confirm drug DES' role in abnormal development of offspring

pregnant belly

Scientists developed an animal model that predicts and confirms that exposure to Diethylstilbestrol (DES), a drug that was prescribed during pregnancy for women from 1938 to 1971 to prevent miscarriages and premature deliveries, can result in various reproductive abnormalities in both male and female offspring. NIEHS children's health researchers have continued to expand research linking early environmental exposures to adult diseases.

Full Highlight: Animal models confirm drug DES' role in abnormal development of offspring

Tags: children's health, women's health