Environmental Exposure Studies

The Environmental Exposure Studies investigate the extent of environmental exposures to pregnant women and children, routes and pathways of exposure, and ways to prevent exposure.

We come into contact with chemicals in our surrounding environment every day in many ways: through what we eat and drink, the air we breathe, and what we touch. Children are more vulnerable to harmful effects of chemicals found in the surrounding environment than adults because they are still developing, their bodies may be less able to detoxify these chemicals, and because they are smaller, which may result in more exposure for their body size.

Credit: Space of Love (http://spaceoflove.co.za)

Learn more about CERCH’s Exposure Studies:

Studies in Farmworkers:

  • Farmworker Intervention Study
    • Field-based intervention studies  (e.g., gloves, coveralls and handwashing).
    • Home education intervention study.
    • Assessment of occupational behaviors associated with exposure risk.

Studies in Pregnant and Perinatal Women:

Studies in Children:

Studies of Chemicals in House Dust:

  • Infant-Toddler Exposure Study
    • Amounts of chemical in dust compared to exposure levels in infants/toddlers.
  • Pesticides and PBDE Flame Retardants in House Dust
    • Coming soon.

Studies of Housing Quality:

  • Healthy Homes Partnership
    • CERCH has documented extensive housing quality problems in Monterey County, CA. In response, CERCH has developed trainings in conjunction with the National Center for Healthy Homes to educate about housing quality risk factors.

See all findings from the Environmental Exposure Studies – click here.The Environmental Exposure Studies investigate two main topics

1) Identifying Routes of Exposure & Prevention Strategies: We conduct research to identify the ways in which children and adults become exposed.  We then work to develop and implement ways to prevent these types of exposures using intervention strategies and community outreach.

    • Examples of routes of exposure to pesticides might include: food residues, wind drift from fields where pesticides are applied, work in the fields, or contact with farmworker clothing worn in the fields.

2) Developing Methods of Exposure Assessment (Biomarker Development): One of the main challenges in investigating the public health impacts of environmental exposures lies in establishing methods of exposure assessment that accurately and reliably indicate the level of exposure experienced by a particular individual; exposures can occur through different routes, and the body interacts with each chemical differently. We conduct research to develop state-of-the-art methods to assess pregnant women and children’s exposures to pesticides, flame retardants, bisphenol A, and other compounds. Through this research, we strive to identify which biomarkers (biological samples with measurable levels of contamination) provide the most accurate measure of a person’s exposure.

    • Examples of biomarkers include measurements of chemicals or products of these chemicals in biological samples like blood, urine, hair, or baby teeth, which can each be evaluated in a laboratory.


  • Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas
  • California Rural Legal Assistance
  • The Grower-Shipper Association of Central California
  • La Clínica de La Raza, Oakland, CA
  • U.S. EPA National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL)
  • Andreas Sjödin, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Antonia Calafat, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Dana Barr, Emory University
  • Martha Harnly, California Department of Public Health
  • Marcia Nishioka, Battelle Memorial Laboratory
  • Randy Maddalena, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Learn more about our Community Partners here.
Funded By: Duration: Study Contact:
  • The National Institute for Environmental  Health Sciences (NIEHS)
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) 2001-2006
  • Environment Innovation Fund, Passport Foundation
Asa Bradman, PhD
Associate Director, Exposure Assessment, CERCH
Print This Page Print This Page