About CHC

The Center for Child Environmental Health Risks Research (CHC) was formed to learn more about children's susceptibility to pesticides and the way pesticides affect normal development and learning.

To learn more about the impact of our work, download a copy of our report "Research into Action," by clicking here.

Funding comes from the US Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Click here for more information about our funding.

The CHC is part of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of Washington.

The inter-disciplinary nature of our Center allows researchers from various academic backgrounds to work together to reduce the effects of environmental pesticide exposure in children. Our research ranges from the basic to the applied, and includes toxicology, exposure assessment and community intervention.

Two major topics of study are assessment of environmental impacts on childhood learning and environmental effects on growth and development. We incorporate scientific findings on pesticide toxicity and exposure into the risk assessment models we design, making the models protective of children's health.

Reasons for Our Work

Children are not just small adults. Because their bodies and minds are still developing, children are more susceptible than adults to the effects of pesticides.This was first established in the National Research Council's 1993 report "Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children." Yet even today, most risk assessments for environmental agents don't account for this fact.

Our research into the biochemical, molecular and exposure mechanisms that underlie children's susceptibility to pesticides, will help develop new models for assessing pesticide risks to normal development and learning.


The six specific objectives of our center are:

  • to identify cellular, biochemical and molecular mechanisms for the adverse developmental neurotoxicity of pesticides;
  • to identify susceptibility factors for developmental neurotoxicity of pesticides;
  • to improve our understanding of critical pathways of pesticide exposure for children;
  • to intervene to reduce children’s exposure to pesticides;
  • to encourage partnerships and improve communication between researchers and community members so that studies can be designed to respond to the community’s questions and concerns.

Photos from top Children playing near an orchard—DEH Archives. Apple orchard in the Yakima valley, WA—Doug Wilson, USDA. Siqing Lu at work in the Faustman lab—DEH Archives. Children at play—DEH Archives.