Research Centers
UC Berkeley School of Public Health: CHAMACOS Office, Berkeley, CA

University of California - Berkeley

The research activities of this Children’s Center are based in the Salinas Valley, California, an agricultural region southeast of San Francisco known as “the nation’s salad bowl,” where fruits and vegetables such as lettuce, artichokes and broccoli are grown. More than 500,000 pounds of organophosphate (OP) pesticides are used each year on agricultural fields in this region. People working in and living near the fields are exposed to the pesticides, fungicides and other chemicals used to grow these crops, with negative health consequences, with particular concern for children exposed in the womb and in the first years of life. The area is home to an estimated 38,000 farm workers. The Center’s work focuses on learning about and preventing environmental exposures to the children of low-income families, many of whom are farm workers and immigrants from Mexico. The largest project of this Center is the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS, which means young children in Mexican Spanish). The goal of this ongoing study is to assess the health effects of environmental exposures to children living in an agricultural community. Researchers at this Center are studying the health effects of exposure to pesticides such as DDT and DDE, manganese (a key component of widely used fungicides), flame retardants (at high levels in these children due to the strict flammability standards in California and are often present in furniture and house dust), and physical and social factors like housing quality and neighborhood conditions. The mothers of the initial study population children were enrolled during pregnancy in 2000-01 and over 300 of these children are still participating and are entering adolescence. The Center is enrolling 300 new 9-year-old participants to examine the relationship of environmental exposures to onset of puberty and to brain and nervous system development.

Center Publications:

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View Projects in Tabular Format

Main Center Abstract and Reports:

Center for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research (P01) (joint EPA and NIEHS) - CHAMACOS

Center Research Projects:

R834513C001 - CHAMACOS Cohort Project: Pesticides and PBDE on Neurobehavior and Puberty

R834513C002 - Project B: Exposure Project: Mn, DDT/E and PBDE Exposure to Farmworker Children

R834513C003 - Epigenetics Project

R834513C004 - Community Outreach and Translation Core