RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC— RTI International has received an award from the National Institutes of Health to join a nationwide consortium that will investigate the effect of environmental exposures on children's health outcomes.
The Children's Health Exposure Analysis Research (CHEAR) program, led by the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences, will provide the NIH-funded research community access to laboratory and statistical analyses to add or expand environmental exposures as a research component.
"Our team at RTI is excited about the opportunity to use our infrastructure in analytical chemistry to investigate exposures to the complex array of chemicals from the environment, food, water and air, and their effects on health," said Timothy Fennell, Ph.D., director and principal investigator of the RTI CHEAR Hub. "Understanding associations between environmental exposures and effects on children's health will lead to a reduction of harmful exposures, and the development of interventions."
Environmental exposures are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality for mothers and children worldwide. These exposures encompass a number of factors, ranging from chemical and biological influences such as air pollution, pesticides and infectious diseases, to psychosocial factors such as education, stress and neglect. Exposures during crucial developmental windows, including conception and pregnancy, early childhood and puberty, can have long lasting effects, according to researchers.
As part of CHEAR, the National Exposure Assessment Laboratory Network will provide improved exposure assessments needed to address the concept of "exposome," or the totality of exposure an individual is subjected to from conception to death.
"Technology advances have become a powerful driver in studying and understanding the start and spread of disease," said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "These projects will expand the toolbox available to researchers to improve our ability to characterize environmental exposures, understand how environmental exposures affect in utero development and function, and bolster the infrastructure for exposure research."