Environmental Health Research

Adolescent Health Evidence Synthesis
Mental Health
Aging & Gerontology Global Health
Maternal & Child Health
Cancer Health Disparities & Culture
Physical Activity & Obesity
Drugs & Alcohol Healthcare Policy
Environmental Health  HIV/AIDS

Increased Exposure to Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Associated with Decreased Thyroid Hormones in Pregnant Women and Newborns

Phthalatesendocrine-disrupting chemicals that are commonly found in consumer products, may adversely affect thyroid hormones, but findings from prior epidemiologic studies are inconsistent. In a prospective cohort study, published in The International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Healthand led by Megan Romano, adjunct assistant professor of epidemiology, researchers investigated whether maternal urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations and phthalate mixtures measured during pregnancy were associated with thyroid hormones among pregnant women and newborns. READ MORE

Urinary Triclosan Concentration during Pregnancy Associated with Birth Outcomes









Triclosan is an antimicrobial chemical that is widely used in some toothpastes, mouthwashes, soaps, cosmetics, lotions, textiles, toys, and kitchenware; exposure is extremely common in pregnant women in the Unites States. The purpose of this study, Environmental Research, was to assess the relationship between exposure to triclosan in pregnancy and birth outcomes, using a prospective pregnancy and birth cohort in the greater Cincinnati, Ohio metropolitan area. READ MORE

Organophosphate Flame Retardant Metabolites among Pregnant Women in Rhode Island

Pregnant women in Rhode Island are commonly exposed to several different organophosphate flame retardants, according to a new study published in Environmental Health. To meet state and federal flammability standards, consumer products are often treated with chemical flame retardants. Following the 2004 phase out of specific mixtures of flame retardants due to health and safety concerns, organophosphate flame retardants have been increasingly used in consumer products including residential furniture and baby products. Data on both human exposure to these chemicals and associated potential adverse health outcomes is still limited, particularly during the sensitive window of pregnancy. The purpose of this study was to assess the concentrations of nine urinary metabolites of organophosphate flame retardant among pregnant women in Rhode Island and the associations of these urinary metabolites with sociodemographic and dietary predictors. READ MORE

Child asthma emergency visits drop after indoor smoking bans

A new study in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology examined emergency asthma visits at 20 pediatric hospitals in 14 states and Washington, D.C. to answer the burning question, do recently enacted indoor smoking bans in public areas improve health. The research finds the bans are associated with a 17 percent overall reduction in the number of children visiting emergency departments with asthma complaints. “Across 20 metropolitan areas that introduced clean indoor air regulations during the 2000s, fewer children were seen in the emergency rooms for asthma exacerbations,” said study senior author Theresa Shireman, professor of health services, policy and practice. “Clean indoor air laws not only reduce expensive health care use, but they also help parents and their children avoid time-consuming, stressful events.”

Tailored Video Intervention to Reduce Smoking and Environmental Tobacco Exposure during and After Pregnancy

The purpose of this paper, published in Contemporary Clinical Trials and led by Patricia Risica, Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, and faculty member in the Center for Health Equity Research, was to describe the Baby’s Breath study; a randomized, controlled trial of a tailored video intervention. The study aimed to test the efficacy of tailored video verses usual care approaches to reduce the ETS exposure of fetuses of low-income women during and after pregnancy; and to assess this intervention separately among non-smoking and smoking women. READ MORE

Prenatal Phthalate Exposure and Infant Size at Birth and Gestational Duration

Phthalates are found in a wide variety of consumer products including lotions, perfumes, food processing equipment, adhesives, and rainwear. As such, phthalate exposure is widespread, including among pregnant women. The purpose of this study, published in Environmental Research and led by Jessica Shoaff, PhD candidate in the Department of Epidemiology, was to quantify the relationship between maternal urinary phthalate concentrations and infant birth weight, length, head circumference, and gestational duration. read more

The Effects of Environmental Exposures on Fetal and Childhood Growth Trajectories

This review, published in  Annals of Global Health by Professor of Epidemiology Tongzhang Zheng, summarizes up-to-date epidemiologic studies linking major environmental pollutants to fetal and child development and suggested future directions for further investigation. read more

As exposure to chemical rises, so does risk of ending breastfeeding early

In recent years, the ubiquitous industrial chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) has come under scrutiny for a variety of possible health problems including cancer and increased child adiposity. Now a study in the journal Environmental Research links maternal blood levels of the substance to early termination of breastfeeding. “Women with the top-quartile serum PFOA concentrations during pregnancy had a 77 percent greater risk of ending any breastfeeding by three months and a 41 percent greater risk of ending any breastfeeding by six months compared to women with the lowest-quartile PFOA concentrations,” said lead author Megan Romano, a postdoctoral scholar in the Brown University School of Public Health. “These should be on our radar as chemicals that might be affecting women’s ability to breastfeed.” READ MORE