NIH News Release
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Monday, August 10, 1998
Tom Hawkins
(919) 541-1402

HHS, EPA Launch Children's Environmental Health Research Center

The Clinton Administration today announced the establishment of eight Children's Environmental Health Research Centers, funded by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency. The centers will emphasize research on children's asthma and other respiratory diseases, as well as ways to reduce farm children's exposure to pesticides.

The annual cost of about $10 million, about $1.25 million to each center annually, will be funded equally by EPA and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, one of the National Institutes of Health within HHS. HHS' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will assist in the coordination of the centers' health outreach programs.

The centers result from concerns about children’s particular sensitivity to chemicals and allergens. A federal Executive Order signed by President Clinton April 21, 1997, "Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks," charges agencies to consider special environmental risks to children.

The Executive Order created a new task force, chaired by HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala and EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner, to address environmental health risks. HHS and EPA invited scientists from across the country to apply for grants to establish Centers of Excellence in Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research, to conduct basic and applied research in combination with community-based prevention efforts. Their aim will be to better understand the causes of environmentally induced disease among children and to eventually decrease their prevalence.

The centers will reach this goal by providing an atmosphere for scientists to interact in establishing outstanding, state-of-the-art research programs addressing environmental contributions to children's health and disease. The centers will facilitate the transition of basic knowledge from the laboratory into strategies that reduce the incidence of environmentally related childhood disease, and establish a national network that fosters communication, innovation and research.

Centers will be established at the following eight institutions: