Childhood and Environment

Photo: woodleywonderworks

Children’s health is considered a priority at the international level—and also at ISGlobal. Our Childhood and Environment programme focuses on evaluating the effects of environmental pollutants on children’s health , with particular emphasis on exposure during pregnancy and the postnatal period. The figure below describes the main areas of research interest in this field:



  1. Exposures
    —Urban environment (e.g. air pollution, noise, green spaces, pedestrian areas, temperature, light)
    —Indoor pollution (e.g. air pollution, mould)
    —Water pollution (e.g. chlorination by-products, microplastics)
    —Toxic chemical compounds (e.g. persistent organic pollutants, bisphenol A, phthalates, pesticides, heavy metals)
    —Electromagnetic fields
    —Lifestyle (e.g. nutrition, physical activity, sleep)
    —Social determinants (e.g. restrictions, socio-economic status, education)
  2. Biological responses
    —Metabolomics and proteins
    —Immune system
  3. Health impacts
    —Neurodevelopment and mental health
    —Obesity and cardiometabolic health
    —Respiratory health and allergies
    —Foetal growth and birth outcomes

ISGlobal-Led Birth Cohorts

Within the Childhood and Environment programme, there is a strong focus on longitudinal birth cohort research. We are currently leading a Spanish network of birth cohorts called the INMA Environment and Childhood Project as well as the BiSC birth cohort (in Barcelona and the surrounding metropolitan area).


ISGlobal-Led Birth Cohort Networks

ISGlobal has also been instrumental in building a birth cohort network in Europe through three European projects: ENRIECO, from 2009 to 2011; CHICOS, from 2010 to 2013; and LIFECYCLE, from 2017 to 2021. These efforts have resulted in a framework for data sharing and harmonisation across than 30 European birth cohorts.

Our Team


  • Martine Vrijheid
    Martine Vrijheid Head of the Childhood and Environment Programme, Research Professor and Coordinator of INMA-Sabadell Cohort

Our Team

See More

Highlighted Projects


Air Pollution, Autism spectrum disorders, and brain imaging in CHildren amongst Europe


Early-life stressors and LifeCycle health


Advancing Tools for Human Early Lifecourse Exposome Research and Translation



Pre- and post-natal Maternal mental health and newbOrn neurOdevelopment during the COVID-19 panDemic

EUCAN-connect project


A federated FAIR platform enabling large-scale analysis of high-value cohort data connecting Europe and Canada in personalized health

OBERON Project


An integrative strategy of testing systems for identification of EDs related to metabolic disorders

AURORA 2021 project


Actionable eUropean ROadmap for early-life health Risk Assessment of micro- and nanoplastics

ONES Project


Fine Particle Matter, Fetal Growth, and Neurodevelopment: Examining Critical Windows of Susceptibility

AIR-NB Project


Pre-natal exposure to urban AIR pollution and pre- and post-Natal Brain development

FRONTIER project


Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Birth Weight: the Roles of Noise, Placental Function, Green Space, Physical Activity, and Socioeconomic Status


Urban and social environment and childhood obesity – a natural moving2health experiment

Other projects

See Past Projects

The Lungfit Project

Socioeconomic Status, Physical Activity, and Respiratory Health in Pregnant Women, Children, and Adolescents


Prenatal Exposure to Environmental Pollutants and Metabolic and Cardiovascular Health of the Teenagers


Developmental origins of child liver injury: the effect of early life environmental exposures

The APBO Project

Air Pollution and Birth Outcomes: Windows of Exposure and Health and Economic Impact Assessment


Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Fields, Noise, and Sleep Disorders in Adolescence


The role of seafood and nut consumption on human neurodevelopment from pregnancy to adolescence


Early Genetics Growth/Early Genetics and Lifecourse Epidemiology


Pregnancy and Childhood Epigenetics


Entorno Urbano y Salud Cardiometabólica desde el Nacimiento hasta la Adolescencia


Early-life Nutritional Programming of Metabolic Health through Epigenetic Pathways


Prenatal Exposure to a Family of Short Half-Life Endocrine Disruptors, Dysregulation of the Hypothalamic–Pituitary–Adrenal Axis and Potential Implication for Child Neurodevelopment at Early Age


Caractérisation des usages et de l’exposition aux radiofréquences induite par les dispositifs de communication mobiles chez les enfants


Light at Night Exposure and Sleep Quality


Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields, Other Environmental Factors, and Development of the Embryo and Fetus