- Air Pollution: Supported policy that reduced emissions from transportation, heating and other combustion sources in NYC, Poland and China
- Pesticides: Prompted passage of laws to reduce exposure to pesticides
- Flame Retardants: Provided scientific support for the regulation of flame-retardants
- Plasticizer Chemicals: Contributed to market shifts away from BPA and phthalates
- Climate Change: Documented co-benefits to children’s health of reducing fossil fuel combustion
On January 31st, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Center. You can view the event video below.
We honored three leaders whose commitment to children’s health and advocacy has helped to protect and improve children’s health and well-being.
Wendy Kelman Neu
Chairman and CEO of the Hugo Neu Group
Environmental and social justice activist
Mental Health Consultant at the Community Association for Progressive Dominicans
Host of Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC Radio
Key Center Milestones
1998- Founding of Columbia’s Center for Children’s Environmental Health lead by Dr. Frederica Perera; partnership with WEACT established; Mothers and Newborns Study established.
2003– Years of secondhand smoke research from the Center helps New York City ban smoking in bars and restaurants.
2004– Center findings show that combined prenatal exposureto polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and postnatal secondhand smoke results in the increased likelihood of asthma-like symptoms in children.
2006– Center finds that children with high prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos, a common pesticide, have significantly lower scores on neurodevelopmental tests and reduced IQ.
2008– Siblings/Hermanos Study launched, with Dr. Julie Herbstman as the lead investigator.
2009– In a letter Mayor Michael Bloomberg states Center findings have encouraged his Administration’s ongoing commitment to reducing traffic and other airborne contaminants throughout the five boroughs.
2013– Fair Start Study launched, with Dr. Julie Herbstman as the lead investigator.
2015– Center finds that high prenatal exposure to PAH is linked to reductions in brain surfaces in children and associated with reduced IQ, as well as behavioral problems. Stressors due to poverty increase the harm.
2016– Center finds that prenatal exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) is associated with several measures of obesity at child age 7.
2017– New York Times runs article, “Protect Our Children”, that highlights the Center’s work on documenting the far-reaching effects of early life exposure to chlorpyrifos.
2018– Center research shows that the phase out of the flame retardant, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), has resulted in decreased blood levels of the chemical in children.
Quotes from Participants
“Being in the Mothers and Newborns study has given me the chance to not only learn more about myself and my health throughout the years, but to also be able to contribute to a study where my participation will allow for a better, healthier future for those younger than me. Thank you so much to everyone who has worked, and continues to work on this study.”-19 year old participant
“This project helped me understand that I am responsible for making the world we live in and for shaping our own environment. I am responsible for teaching my children what I’ve learned from you and make them project that to their future”-Mother
“Thank you for being part of my life. Thank you for caring about my children’s environmental exposures and their development”-Mother
“I didn’t know I was exposed to all those chemicals in my report. Thank you for making me aware of what I am doing with my own environment. It is time for a change” -Mother
“The Center’s research about the exposure of pregnant women and newborns to pesticides motivated Local Law 37 and put New York at the forefront of safer pest control methods in the United States.”