Dr. Chatzi led a research team that linked children’s healthier metabolic profiles to levels of inflammation biomarkers in maternal and cord blood. This article appears in the NIEHS Environmental Factor newsletter of May 5, 2020.
By Kelly Lenox, NIEHS
An international team of researchers reported that the children of women who ate between one and three servings of fish per week during pregnancy saw health benefits in later childhood. Women who ate fish more or less often had children who showed more signs of metabolic syndrome and inflammation. The study, partially funded by NIEHS, was published March 2 in JAMA Network Open.
“Fish is an important source of nutrients, and its consumption should not be avoided,” said NIEHS grantee Leda Chatzi, M.D., Ph.D., as quoted in a March 16 press release from the University of Southern California (USC). Chatzi is from the USC Keck School of Medicine and senior investigator on the study. “But pregnant women should stick to one to three servings of fish a week as recommended, and not eat more, because of the potential contamination of fish by mercury and other persistent organic pollutants.”
Chatzi and her co-authors wrote that this was the first study they knew of that compared prenatal mercury exposure with metabolic profiles in children, including obesity and insulin measures.
For more resources and information on mercury and fish visit the NIEHS Environmental Factor article here.
The Community Engagement Program on Health and the Environment team of Wendy Gutschow and Jill Johnston, along with partners Zully Juarez (prospective UCLA MURP graduate in 2020), Sandy Navarro (LA Grit Media), Ashley Hernandez (Communities for a Better Environment) have published an article in IJERPH about the program they implemented that incorporated air monitoring and storytelling with youth in environmental justice organizations around the Los Angeles area.
Air pollution in Southern California does not impact all communities equally; communities of color are disproportionately burdened by poor air quality and more likely to live near industrial facilities and freeways. Government regulatory monitors do not have the spatial resolution to provide air quality information at the neighborhood or personal scale. We describe the A Day in the Life program, an approach to participatory air monitoring that engages youth in collecting data that they can then analyze and use to take action. Academics partnered with Los Angeles-based youth environmental justice organizations to combine personal air monitoring, participatory science, and digital storytelling to build capacity to address local air quality issues. Eighteen youth participants from four different neighborhoods wore portable personal PM2.5 (fine particles <2.5 µm in diameter) monitors for a day in each of their respective communities, documenting and mapping their exposure to PM2.5 during their daily routine. Air monitoring was coupled with photography and videos to document what they experienced over the course of their day. The PM2.5 exposure during the day for participants averaged 10.7 µg/m3, although the range stretched from <1 to 180 µg/m3. One-third of all measurements were taken <300 m from a freeway. Overall, we demonstrate a method to increase local youth-centered understanding of personal exposures, pollution sources, and vulnerability to air quality.
“I enjoyed doing this project because it was a lot of new information for me that directly impacts me as a community member, as well as learning about the way particulate matter affects our daily lives. With all of this new information, I want to educate my community on how harmful these particulates are, and how change should begin with personal choices people make throughout their day.”—CBE Youth, Huntington Park, CA.
To read more of how this
program was implemented and the work that the youth, community organizers and
staff put into making this happen, click through to read and download the full
article here. Read more about the program on the Day in the Life program page here.
in the Day in the Life program since its inception in 2017 include:
is open access, available free of change to anyone who would like to download
Jill E. Johnston, Zully Juarez, Sandy Navarro, Ashley Hernandez, and Wendy Gutschow. (2020) “Youth Engaged Participatory Air Monitoring: A ‘Day in the Life’ in Urban Environmental Justice Communities.” Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 17(1), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17010093
work was funded, in part, by the National Institute of Environmental Health
Sciences (5P30ES007048 and P01ES022845) and the Environmental Protection Agency
On October 4, 2019, Dr. Jill Johnston was recognized for her outstanding contributions in the field of air pollution health research and efforts to improve public health as she received the Robert M. Zweig, M.D. Memorial Award given to her by the South Coast Air Quality Management District at their 31st Annual Clean Air Awards Luncheon in downtown Los Angeles.
As Dr. Johnston, accepted her award she said:
“Thank you, I am honored and humbled to receive this award. I would like to first recognize and thank all the communities on the frontline working tirelessly to make sure we can all breathe clean air. They are my motivation and inspiration for research and studies.
Secondly, I thank my team of amazing women that make sure science and data doesn’t stay in the ivy tower, but is a tool for residents and public officials to use. This aims to increase capacity of community residents to collect and understand their air quality.
Building upon decades of research from scientists, doctors and communities, the evidence is overwhelming – air pollution harms people of all ages, effects our health in many different ways and at concentrations lower than typical days in LA – and increasingly, we see evidence that this harm is transgenerational.
As the frequency of unhealthy air days is rising, as toxics continue to be emitted near schools and homes, it is clear that we pay a too high a price for inaction. I want for my daughters to live in a LA where they won’t have to check the Air Quality Index or install air monitors because the right to clean air will be available to everyone.
So with this, I ask that we collaborate and proactively implement real solutions.”
New research from our Center investigators suggests that early exposure to traffic pollution may be linked to unhealthy diet in adolescence.
by Leigh Hopper, USC Media Relations
Could air pollution be making us fat?
A new USC study suggests that exposure to traffic pollution during childhood makes adolescents 34 percent more likely to eat foods high in unhealthy trans fats — regardless of household income, parent education level or proximity to fast-food restaurants. The findings on air pollution and obesity in teens appear in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
“Strange as it may seem, we discovered kids in polluted communities ate more fast food than other kids,” said Zhanghua Chen, a postdoctoral research associate in the department of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and the study’s first author.
The Community Engagement Core of the MADRES Environmental Health Disparities Center is pleased to share a video about our work to build environmental health literacy around toxins and health impacts found in commonly used household cleaning products with Latina mothers. The popular education workshops, done in partnership with public health interns from CalStateLA, introduce concepts of environmental health and justice rooted in participants lived experience while providing alternative methods for participants to create their own “Do It Yourself” green cleaning products.
“Communicating Air Quality Data and Health Risk to the Public”
Jo Kay Ghosh, PhD
Health Effects Officer
South Coast Air Quality Management District
Friday, September 9, 2016
11:45 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Soto Street I Building, Room 116
2001 North Soto Street
Los Angeles, CA 90032
If you would like to attend the FREE seminar, please email email@example.com
Dr. Jo Kay Ghosh is the Health Effects Officer at the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). She earned her doctorate in Epidemiology from the UCLA School of Public Health, with her work on air pollution and birth outcomes. She also conducted post-doctoral research at the USC Department of Preventive Medicine, examining the effects of air pollution on cancer risk. Previously, she worked at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, where she managed the Epidemiology and Research Unit of the Tuberculosis Control Program.