2002 Progress Report: FRIENDS Children's Environmental Health Center

EPA Grant Number: R829390
Center: CECEHDPR - University of Illinois FRIENDS Children’s Environmental Health Center
Center Director: Schantz, Susan L.
Title: FRIENDS Children's Environmental Health Center
Investigators: Schantz, Susan L.
Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana
EPA Project Officer: Louie, Nica
Project Period: November 1, 2001 through October 31, 2006 (Extended to October 31, 2008)
Project Period Covered by this Report: November 1, 2001 through October 31, 2002
Project Amount: $5,568,992
RFA: Centers for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Children's Health , Health Effects , Human Health , Health

Objective:

The Fox River Environment and Diet Study (FRIENDS) Children’s Environmental Health Center is a university/community partnership, which was established to investigate the health effects of combined exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and methylmercury (MeHg) in Hmong and Laotian refugees consuming contaminated fish from the Fox River in northeastern Wisconsin. PCBs and MeHg are neurotoxic compounds that tend to occur together in the environment, especially in fish and seafood. Recent research suggests that the two compounds may have additive or synergistic effects on nervous system function. The objectives of the FRIENDS Center are to: (1) study the impact of PCB and MeHg exposure on women’s reproductive health and child development, focusing on neuropsychological development; (2) develop effective educational strategies to reduce exposure to these contaminants in reproductive-age women and children; and (3) conduct laboratory studies aimed at understanding the mechanisms through which these contaminants induce neurological deficits in children. Partners in the research include the Hmong Association of Green Bay and the Fort Howard/Jefferson Neighborhood Family Resource Center of Green Bay, as well as researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston, Michigan State University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the State University of New York at Buffalo, and the New York State Department of Health.

Progress Summary:

Community Open House

In May 2002, the FRIENDS Center held an open house at the Hmong Association of Green Bay. The President and Administrative Director of the Hmong Association were both on hand to help promote awareness of our new Center. The event was designed as a forum to introduce the Hmong and Laotian community to the goals of the FRIENDS Center and to provide a chance for community members to meet the personnel involved in the research. All of the project principal investigators (PIs) and many of the key staff members were present. Posters were presented describing the activities of the Center. The open house also was used to provide information about contamination in local lakes and rivers. One poster detailed how to use the fishing advisories, and translations of the advisories were available to take home. Another poster explained the concept of bioaccumulation of contaminants. Small gifts, including measuring tapes, t-shirts, and water bottles displaying the project logo, were available to take home. A picture-based bingo game that uses drawings to teach children about safe fishing was introduced at the open house. The children responded very well to the incorporation of educational information about fish consumption into the game format. The open house was followed by a call-in question and answer show on Hmong-language radio. After a short informational overview about the Center, the project PIs answered call-in questions from the community via a translator. The community response to these events was very positive, and similar events are planned on a yearly basis in the future.

Fish Consumption Diary

Pictures indicating fish and nonfish meals will be pasted onto a small wooden beam. Below each picture, a string will be attached. Each woman will be provided with a kit consisting of the beam and a box with beads. Women will be asked to string a bead for each sport-caught fish meal consumed. If no fish was consumed during the meal, a bead will be attached under the nonfish meal picture. Data collectors will visit the home once a month, count the beads, and record the information on a data-abstraction form.

A grant is being submitted to support the evaluation of the menstrual cycle and pregnancy tracking system as well as to allow for expansion of the number of environmental contaminants that will be examined in this population. Given that serial blood and urine samples are being collected over the course of pregnancy, samples will be stored and analyzed for additional contaminants of concern in the population, such as phthalates and diphenyl ethers.

Intervention/Prevention

A crucial aspect of the FRIENDS Center is community outreach. Several methods will be used to instruct Hmong and Lao families about the potential health consequences of chemical exposure and safer ways to catch and prepare fish. Each year we cull the relevant information from the Wisconsin Fishing Advisory and translate it into Hmong and Lao. These translations simplify the complex advisories by combining advisory information for PCBs and MeHg and focusing on water bodies and fish species most commonly used by this population. The advisories also rely heavily on pictures rather than written text. Copies of the advisories were distributed to all study participants at the start of the fishing season in March. They also are available to the community for free at the project office and were available at the open house in May. Each spring, updated advisories will be distributed.

In addition, a short instructional video currently is being produced in both Hmong and Laotian. The video will teach people about environmental contamination and its effects, as well as how to use the information in our fishing advisory and how to clean and cook fish to minimize exposure to PCBs. At this stage, a basic outline of the video and a rough draft of the script have been developed. Preproduction will begin soon, and we expect to have a finished product by December 2002. The video will be distributed to all families participating in the study. During Year 2 of the Project, we will develop and begin offering small group instructional workshops. In addition to receiving the printed fishing advisories and the video, one-half of the study participants will participate in these instructional workshops, where the men will receive hands-on instruction in how to use the fishing advisory and how to clean the fish they catch to remove as much PCB as possible before cooking. The women will learn by demonstration about the best ways to cook the fish to reduce the amount of PCBs. Our goal will be to stay as close as possible to traditional cooking methods and to maintain flavor. Afterwards the group will come together to share the fish meal they have prepared. Changes in body burdens of PCBs and MeHg as well as changes in behavioral practices will be compared in the video-alone group and the video-plus-workshop group.

Finally, instructional games are being developed for use as learning tools for children from the community. We already have developed a picture-based bingo game that teaches children about safe fishing. Other games based on the Wheel of Fortune and dominoes are under development. These games will be used at community events, such as New Year’s celebrations, festivals, and health fairs.

Future Activities:

No future activities were reported by the investigators.


Journal Articles: 21 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other center views: All 38 publications 22 publications in selected types All 21 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Bemis JC, Seegal RF. Polychlorinated biphenyls and methylmercury act synergistically to reduce rat brain dopamine content in vitro. Environmental Health Perspectives 1999;107(11):879-885. R829390 (2005)
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  • Journal Article Bemis JC, Seegal RF. Polychlorinated biphenyls and methylmercury alter intracellular calcium concentrations in rat cerebellar granule cells. NeuroToxicology 2000;21(6):1123-1134. R829390 (2005)
    R829390 (Final)
    R825812 (1999)
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  • Journal Article Bemis JC, Seegal RF. PCB-induced inhibition of the vesicular monoamine transporter predicts reductions in synaptosomal dopamine content. Toxicological Sciences 2004;80(2):288-295. R829390 (2005)
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    R829390C004 (2004)
    R825812 (1999)
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  • Journal Article Dietrich KN, Eskenazi B, Schantz S, Yolton K, Rauh VA, Johnson CB, Alkon A, Canfield RL, Pessah IN, Berman RF. Principles and practices of neurodevelopmental assessment in children: lessons learned from the Centers for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research. Environmental Health Perspectives 2005;113(10):1437-1446. R829390 (2005)
    R829390 (Final)
    R829390C002 (2005)
    R827027 (2002)
    R829388 (2006)
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    R831710 (2005)
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  • Journal Article Dreiem A, Gertz CC, Seegal RF. The effects of methylmercury on mitochondrial function and reactive oxygen species formation in rat striatal synaptosomes are age-dependent. Toxicological Sciences 2005;87(1):156-162. R829390 (2005)
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  • Journal Article Dreiem A, Seegal RF. Methylmercury-induced changes in mitochondrial function in striatal synaptosomes are calcium-dependent and ROS-independent. NeuroToxicology 2007;28(4):720-726. R829390 (2005)
    R829390 (Final)
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  • Journal Article Eskenazi B, Gladstone EA, Berkowitz GS, Drew CH, Faustman EM, Holland NT, Lanphear B, Meisel SJ, Perera FP, Rauh VA, Sweeney A, Whyatt RM, Yolton K. Methodologic and logistic issues in conducting longitudinal birth cohort studies: lessons learned from the Centers for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research. Environmental Health Perspectives 2005;113(10):1419-1429. R829390 (2005)
    R829390 (Final)
    R829390C002 (2005)
    R827027 (2002)
    R829389 (2003)
    R829389 (2004)
    R829389 (2005)
    R829389 (Final)
    R831709 (2005)
    R831709C001 (2004)
    R831710 (2005)
    R831710 (Final)
    R831710C001 (2006)
    R831710C002 (2006)
    R831711 (2005)
    R831711 (2006)
    R831711 (2007)
    R831711 (Final)
    R831711C001 (2006)
    R831711C002 (2004)
    R831711C002 (2006)
    R831711C003 (2006)
    R832141 (2005)
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  • Journal Article Kornosky JL, Peck JD, Sweeney AM, Adelson PL, Schantz SL. Reproductive characteristics of Southeast Asian immigrants before and after migration. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health 2008;10(2):135-143. R829390 (2005)
    R829390 (Final)
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  • Journal Article Kostyniak PJ, Hansen LG, Widholm JJ, Fitzpatrick RD, Olson JR, Helferich JL, Kim KH, Sable HJ, Seegal RF, Pessah IN, Schantz SL. Formulation and characterization of an experimental PCB mixture designed to mimic human exposure from contaminated fish. Toxicological Sciences 2005;88(2):400-411. R829390 (2005)
    R829390 (Final)
    R829388 (2006)
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    R829388C006 (2005)
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  • Journal Article Lyng GD, Synder-Keller A, Seegal RF. Dopaminergic development of prenatal ventral mesencephalon and striatum in organotypic co-cultures. Brain Research 2007;1133(1):1-9. R829390 (2005)
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  • Journal Article Lyng GD, Synder-Keller A, Seegal RF. Polychlorinated biphenyl-induced neurotoxicity in organotypic co-cultures of developing rat ventral mesencephalon and striatum. Toxicological Sciences 2007;97(1):128-139. R829390 (2005)
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  • Journal Article Lyng GD, Seegal RF. Polychlorinated biphenyl-induced oxidative stress in organotypic co-cultures: experimental dopamine depletion prevents reductions in GABA. NeuroToxicology 2008;29(2):301-308. R829390 (2005)
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  • Journal Article Powers BE, Widholm JJ, Lasky RE, Schantz SL. Auditory deficits in rats exposed to an environmental PCB mixture during development. Toxicological Sciences 2006;89(2):415-422. R829390 (2005)
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  • Journal Article Roegge CS, Wang VC, Powers BE, Klintsova AY, Villareal S, Greenough WT, Schantz SL. Motor impairment in rats exposed to PCBs and methylmercury during early development. Toxicological Sciences 2004;77(2):315-324. R829390 (2005)
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  • Journal Article Roegge CS, Morris JR, Villareal S, Wang VC, Powers BE, Klintsova AY, Greenough WT, Pessah IN, Schantz SL. Purkinje cell and cerebellar effects following developmental exposure to PCBs and/or MeHg. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 2006;28(1):74-85. R829390 (2005)
    R829390 (Final)
    R829390C001 (2005)
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  • Journal Article Roegge CS, Schantz SL. Motor function following developmental exposure to PCBS and/or MEHG. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 2006;28(2):260-277. R829390 (2005)
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  • Journal Article Roegge CS, Wang VC, Powers BE, Klintsova A, Villareal S, Greenough WT, Schantz SL. Motor functions in rats exposed to PCBs and methylmercury during early development. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 2002;24(3):424-425. R829390C001 (2002)
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    Journal Article Sable HJK, Powers BE, Wang VC, Widholm JJ, Schantz SL. Alterations in DRH and DRL performance in rats developmentally exposed to an environmental PCB mixture. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 2006;28(5):548-556. R829390 (2005)
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  • Journal Article Seegal RF, Brosch KO, Okoniewski RJ. Coplanar PCB congeners increase uterine weight and frontal cortical dopamine in the developing rat: implications for developmental neurotoxicity. Toxicological Sciences 2005;86(1):125-131. R829390 (2005)
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  • Journal Article Sweeney AM, Peck JD, Gasior DM, Gardiner J, Schantz SL. Perinatal PCBs and mercury exposure and neurodevelopmental effects. Epidemiology 2004;15(4):S147-S148. R829390 (Final)
    R829390C002 (2004)
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  • Journal Article Widholm JJ, Villareal S, Seegal RF, Schantz SL. Spatial alternation deficits following developmental exposure to Aroclor 1254 and/or methylmercury in rats. Toxicological Sciences 2004;82(2):577-589. R829390 (2002)
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  • Supplemental Keywords:

    children’s health, disease and cumulative effects, ecological risk assessment, susceptibility, sensitive population, toxicology, Fox River, PCBs, exposure assessment, heavy metals, methylmercury, neurotoxicity, pesticides, fish consumption,, RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Midwest, Toxicology, Health Risk Assessment, Chemistry, Risk Assessments, Susceptibility/Sensitive Population/Genetic Susceptibility, Disease & Cumulative Effects, Children's Health, genetic susceptability, Ecological Risk Assessment, Molecular Biology/Genetics, human data, neurotoxic, Fox River, behavioral assessment, PCBs, pesticides, motor development, children, neurotoxicity, cognitive development, behavioral deficits, methylmercury, PCB, Wisconsin (WI), animal studies, reproductive health, biomedical research, exposure assessment

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2003 Progress Report
  • 2004 Progress Report
  • 2005 Progress Report
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • Final Report
  • Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R829390C001 Neurobehavioral Effects of PCBs and Methylmercury in Rats
    R829390C002 Perinatal PCB Exposure and Neuropsychological/Auditory Function
    R829390C003 FRIENDS Analytical Toxicology Core Facility
    R829390C004 Developmental Effects of PCBs and Methylmercury