The ISGlobal Programme on Child Health focuses on evaluating the effects of environmental pollutants on children’s health, particularly following exposure during the intra utero and postnatal periods. Child health is considered a priority at the international level.
The main exposures analysed are:
- Air pollution
- Water pollution and chlorinated sub products
- Persistent organic pollutants such as PCBs, DDE, hexachlorobenzene, and perfluorinated compounds.
- Heavy metals such as mercury
- Endocrine disruptors such as bisphenol A and phthalates
- Indoor pollution
- Electromagnetic fields
The child health programme has as main objective to evaluate the role of these exposures in intrauterine and postnatal development including:
- The maturation of the neurobehavioral system of children
- Cardiovascular health
- Respiratory health
Within the Child Health programme there is a strong focus on longitudinal birth cohort research. The INMA Project (INMA - Infancia y Medio Ambiente, www.proyectoinma.org), a Spanish network of birth cohorts, is a productive structured platform for etiological research on child health, growth and development. ISGlobal is also instrumental in the building of a network of birth cohorts in Europe as part of three European projects (ENRIECO, CHICOS, and LYFECYCLE), resulting in a framework for data sharing and harmonization across more than 30 European birth cohorts. Further, ISGlobal is a world-leader in neurodevelopment studies with special interest in the study of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders and autism spectrum disorders. The ERC advanced grant BREATHE, granted to Jordi Sunyer, aims to uncover the air pollution effects on ADHD and neurodevelopment, incorporating genetic and neuroimaging information. Recently, the Child Health programme has initiated work on the Exposome through the HELIX (Human Early Life Exposome) EC FP7 project (Martine Vrijheid) aiming to move towards a more holistic approach to studying co-existing exposures and their joint effects on child health.
Many other nationally and EC funded projects are related with the child health program, including GERONIMO on electromagnetic fields, HBM4EU on human biomonitoring, EUTHYROID on thyroid function, APACHE and ESCAPE on air pollution, MEDALL on allergy and asthma, HiWATE on water contamination, PHENOTYPE on the built environment, and HiTEA on indoor air pollution.