Longitudinal Effects of Multiple Pollutants on Child Growth, Blood Pressure and Cognition

EPA Grant Number: R834798C004
Subproject: this is subproject number 004 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R834798
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: Air Pollution Mixtures: Health Effects across Life Stages
Center Director: Koutrakis, Petros
Title: Longitudinal Effects of Multiple Pollutants on Child Growth, Blood Pressure and Cognition
Investigators: Gold, Diane R. , Oken, Emily , Schwartz, Joel
Current Investigators: Gold, Diane R. , Gillman, Matthew , Oken, Emily , Schwartz, Joel
Institution: Harvard University
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2015 (Extended to December 31, 2016)
RFA: Clean Air Research Centers (2009) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Health Effects , Air


Elevated blood pressure, reduced cognition, behavioral problems, and abnormal somatic growth are significant burdens on individuals, their families and society. We hypothesize that prenatal and postnatal pollution exposures (individual pollutants, sources, or mixtures) will lead to adverse changes in somatic growth, increased blood pressure, reduced cardiovascular fitness, and reduced cognition in children. The strength of the chronic and acute effects of individual pollutants on our outcomes will vary by source and mixture, as well as the timing of prenatal and postnatal exposures. Increased vulnerability or susceptibility to pollution effects on these adverse health outcomes will also result from socioeconomic disparities, stress and violence, environmental tobacco smoke, and reduced maternal and child omega-3 fatty acid intake measured in the prenatal as well as postnatal periods.


We will test these hypotheses using Project Viva, a unique ongoing pre-birth cohort of over 1,300 children from Greater Boston with longitudinal repeated measures of somatic growth, blood pressure, and cognition. Families were recruited between 1999 and 2002, during the first trimester of pregnancy. Primary longitudinal growth outcomes for Project Viva will include weight-for-length z-score and change in weight-for-length (birth through to age 2); body-mass index z-score and change in body-mass index (2 yr through 10 yr of age). Blood pressure is measured at birth, 6 months, 3 yr, and 7 yr; cardiovascular fitness is assessed by Step Testing at 7 yr. Cognition is assessed as visual memory at 6 mo, 3 yr and 7 yr; language at 3 yr and 7 yr; intelligence at 7 yr; and behavior at 7 yr. Chronic systemic inflammation is a well- documented risk factor for high blood pressure and atherosclerosis, and dysregulation of growth. Our Secondary Aim is to explore the effects exposures to individual pollutants, sources, and mixtures on intermediate immune and endocrine responses, including cord blood mononuclear cell (CBMC) lymphoproliferative responses, and innate (IL-6, TNF-a), adaptive Thl(IFN-y), and Th2(IL-13) CBMC responses to stimulation with the mitogen PHA; dust mite, and cockroach allergen; allergic sensitization (3 and 7 yr) and inflammation-related adipokines (leptin and adiponectin) levels (birth, 3 and 7 yr).

Expected Results:

Cognitive deficits and child behavior problems not only impose costs and burdens on children and their families, but also on their school systems. The origins of adult diseases, including elevated blood pressure are in childhood, and environmental controls in childhood may significantly reduce the risk of adult cardiovascular and neurovascular diseases. Therefore, identification of individual pollutants, pollution sources or mixtures that influence childhood blood pressure, cognition and growth is important for regulation and for child and future adult health.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this subproject: View all 49 publications for this subprojectView all 410 publications for this center

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this subproject: View all 32 journal articles for this subprojectView all 347 journal articles for this center

Supplemental Keywords:

Air pollution; child health; pregnancy; growth; blood pressure; cognition; inflammation; environmental justice; vulnerability; susceptibility,, Scientific Discipline, Air, air toxics, Health Risk Assessment, Air Pollution Effects, Biochemistry, Environmental Monitoring, Biology, ambient air quality, complex mixtures, health effects, sensitive populations, children's health, air pollutants, biological sensitivities, exposure and effects, lung epithelial cells, susceptible populations, chemical composition, neurotoxicity, human exposure, toxicity, coronary artery disease, cardiopulmonary, cardiotoxicity, environmental effects, mortality, human health

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2010 Progress Report
  • 2011 Progress Report
  • 2012 Progress Report
  • 2013 Progress Report
  • 2014 Progress Report
  • Final Report

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R834798    Air Pollution Mixtures: Health Effects across Life Stages

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R834798C001 Relative Toxicity of Air Pollution Mixtures
    R834798C002 Cognitive Decline, Cardiovascular Changes, and Biological Aging in Response to Air Pollution
    R834798C003 Identifying the Cognitive and Vascular Effects of Air Pollution Sources and Mixtures in the Framingham Offspring and Third Generation Cohorts
    R834798C004 Longitudinal Effects of Multiple Pollutants on Child Growth, Blood Pressure and Cognition
    R834798C005 A National Study to Assess Susceptibility, Vulnerability, and Effect Modification of Air Pollution Health Risks