EPA Awards U.W. Funds For Pesticides Research

June 23, 2006 - 07:08

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded the University of Washington (U.W.) a $749,997 grant to conduct research to develop methods to help determine if children exposed to pesticides are at increased risk of developing health effects because of those exposures.

This project is intended to complement an ongoing, community-based child cohort research study also funded by the EPA and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The study is being conducted by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center as part of the U.W.'s Center for Children Environmental Health Risks Research (CEHC). The researchers will use information about a child’s exposure to pesticides, individual genetic differences and the early effects of pesticide exposure to understand if a child is at increased risk of developing harmful health effects.

"This award provides an excellent opportunity to apply new techniques to samples that were collected last year during the thinning season — a period of pesticide use," said Elaine M. Faustman, the principal investigator of the award and director of the U.W. CEHC. "Our goal is to improve the use of non-invasive sampling methods to understand the relationship between exposure and effect of pesticides."

“This U.W. research will help us better understand how individual children may react to pesticide exposure,” said Michael Bogert, EPA Region 10 administrator. “This research is especially important for children in agricultural communities who are likely exposed to higher amounts of agricultural pesticides than children living in metropolitan areas.”

Not all children are exposed to the same amounts of pesticides, and after exposure, children’s bodies react in different ways because of differences in genetics. Because of this, it is important to be able to predict if certain individuals are at higher risk of developing harmful health effects.

The scientists are using innovative, non-invasive techniques to collect samples. The results will help researchers understand why some children are more sensitive to pesticides than others.

The results of this research could be important in future epidemiological studies such as the National Children’s study, a government-wide study that will follow 100,000 children from before birth until age 21. For more information about the National Children’s study visit, www.nationalchildrensstudy.gov.

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