Founding of the Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center (SCEHSC) to investigate environmental exposures, host factors, and human disease, Director John Peters

The Children's Health Study becomes an important part of the SCEHSC, designed to study the chronic effects of air pollution on the developing lungs of 3,600 Southern California school children. An additional cohort of 2,600 children is enrolled to follow from 4th grade to high school graduation.

Map of CHS Communities

The Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center Through the Years


Founding of the NIEHS/EPA supported Children's Environmental Health Center to investigate environmental, genetic and dietary causes of respiratory disease in children, Director Henry Gong


Due to contributions of the SCEHSC and its investigators from both USC and UCLA, EPA awards a grant to establish the Southern California Particle Center and Supersite (SCPCS) at UCLA to investigate health effects of mobile source air pollution, Director John Froines


NIEHS Director Ken Olden addresses first SCEHSC Community Engagement Core Town Hall Meeting. Recognition by attendees that the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach (largest ports in the U.S.) were expanding and truck were engulfing their neighborhoods led to an increase in Center attention to air pollution and community impacts from the Ports.


New Children's Health Study cohort of 5,500 children enrolled in K- and 1st grade and follow-up of original 6,000 children into adulthood, funded by an NIEHS P01, principal investigator John Peters

Lancet paper published indicating that exercising in areas of high air pollution exposure can lead to new onset asthma


NIEHS/EPA Children's Environmental Health Center renewed to investigate air pollution effects on asthma and allergic airway disease, Director Frank Gilliland


New England Journal of Medicine paper published demonstrating that clinically significant deficits in children's lung development was associated with higher levels of regional air pollution


Children's Health Study 5th cohort follow-up through 12th grade, funded by renewed NIEHS P01, principal investigator Frank Gilliland

Lancet paper published demonstrating that exposure to traffic-related air pollution from freeways has adverse effects on children's lung development, independent of regional air quality


NIEHS Director Linda Birnbaum visits Port of L.A. and schools near the Port, expressing concerns about how to keep schoolchildren safe from the pollution, followed by a community forum on traffic-related pollution


Environmental Health Perspectives paper published indicating that 8% of all cases of childhood asthma in Los Angeles County can be attributed to traffic-related pollution


SCEHSC and its Community Engagement Core sponsors a Port Disaster Research Exercise with NIEHS Director Linda Birnbaum and NIEHS staff at the Port of L.A.

NIEHS/EPA Southern California Children's Environmental Health Center funded to investigate effects of traffic-related air pollution on obesity and metabolic disease, Director Rob McConnell

JAMA Psychiatry paper published demonstrating that exposure to regional and traffic-related air pollution during pregnancy and during the first year of life was associated with autism diagnosis


Environmental Science and Technology paper published indicating emissions from Los Angeles International Airport increase ultrafine particle number concentrations four-fold up to 10km downwind


New England Journal of Medicine paper published demonstrating that improvements in regional air quality improves children's lung development

Annals of Neurology paper published indicating that exposure to regional particulate pollution was associated with smaller brain volumes of white matter in cognitively healthy older adults

Founding of the NIEHS/NIMHD/EPA-supported  MADRES Center for Environmental Health Disparities to investigate the cumulative effects of chemical pollutants and psychosocial, behavioral, and built environment risk factors, during and after pregnancy, on maternal and infant obesity-related outcomes. The prospective MADRES cohort is comprised of low-income, predominantly Hispanic pregnant women and their infants in Los Angeles.


SCEHSC investigators awarded a grant under the NIH Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes Program to continue follow-up of CHS cohorts & recruitment and follow-up of MADRES children

Journal of the American Medical Association paper published demonstrating that decreases in ambient pollution levels were associated with significantly fewer bronchitic symptoms in children


Health Effects Institute report published evaluating whether regulations enacted to decrease emissions of major outdoor air pollutants result in improved air quality and improved children’s respiratory health

Translational Psychiatry paper published demonstrating exposure to fine particulate matter was associated with increased cognitive decline and dementia risk in older women

International Journal of Cancer paper published indicating that elevated particulate matter exposure was associated with shorter survival times for liver cancer patients


NIA-supported P01 funded to study preclinical risk, heterogeneity and mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease associated with urban air pollution, principal investigators Caleb Finch and Jiu-Chiuan Chen

European Respiratory Journal paper published suggesting that early-onset asthma and wheezing contribute to an increased risk of developing obesity in later childhood

JAMA Network Open paper published showing prenatal ambient and traffic-related pollution exposures affect fetal thyroid development


Journal of the American Medical Association Paper published indicating that improved air quality in the Los Angeles region is linked to roughly 20% fewer new asthma cases in children

SCEHSC Infographic

Findings from the Truth Fairy Study published in Environmental Science & Technology document lead exposure in children living near the Exide battery smelter in Southeast Los Angeles

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public paper published reporting high prevalence of asthma and other respiratory conditions among children exposed to wind-blown dust from the rapidly receding, landlocked Salton Sea in California’s Imperial Valley


MADRES Center renewed, Directors Carrie Breton & Tracy Bastain

A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives is the first to comprehensively profile environmental factors linked to childhood obesity

Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center
Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
2001 North Soto Street, MC 9237
Los Angeles, CA 90089-9013
Supported by NIEHS grant P30ES007048
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