Press Releases

Stay up-to-date with press releases about the Center’s findings in children’s environmental health. 

October 26, 2021 Research Leads to Regulation on "Forever Chemicals"

(Español) Last week, the Biden Administration announced regulations to limit exposures to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), long-lasting chemical compounds found in our drinking water, food, even our blood. The regulations are based on a growing body of research on their harms to human health—including studies and standards published by environmental health scientists at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

March 02, 2021 Transportation Equity Project Research Update

The Transportation, Equity, Climate & Health (TRECH) research team has updated their preliminary results, which estimate changes in health outcomes from active mobility (e.g., biking and walking) and air quality in 2032 assuming all 12 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia participate in the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI).

February 24, 2021 Experts Call for Home Battery Storage to Protect Vulnerable During Outages

Extreme weather driven by climate change is making power outages more commonplace even as the need for electricity-dependent home health equipment grows. In this context, battery storage can help protect medically vulnerable households, according to researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. The article is published in the journal Futures.

February 17, 2021 Scientists Develop Blood Test to Predict Environmental Harms to Children

Scientists at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH) developed a method using a DNA biomarker to easily screen pregnant women for harmful prenatal environmental contaminants like air pollution linked to childhood illness and developmental disorders. This approach has the potential to prevent childhood developmental disorders and chronic illness through the early identification of children at risk.

Dec. 21, 2020 How Our Health Could Benefit If Clean Air Improvements During COVID-19 Shutdown Continued Post-Pandemic Via Climate Policies

A new study by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health researchers poses a hypothetical question: What if air quality improvements in New York City during the spring 2020 COVID-19 shutdown were sustained for five years without the economic and health costs of the pandemic? They estimate cumulative benefits of clean air during this period would amount to thousands of avoided cases of illness and death in children and adults, as well as associated economic benefits between $32 to $77 billion. The study’s findings are published in the journal Environmental Research.

October 20, 2020 Study Finds Significant Link Between Air Pollution and Neurological Disorders


Air pollution was significantly associated with an increased risk of hospital admissions for several neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other dementias, in a long-term study of more than 63 million older U.S. adults. The research was conducted by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and colleagues at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health.

October 7, 2020 Climate Initiative Shares Preliminary Results on Benefits of Green Transportation Policies

A group of researchers from four universities, including Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, has released preliminary findings that highlight the health benefits of policies to reduce carbon pollution from the transportation sector.

September 14, 2020 Wildfires Present a Growing Threat to Human Health

In recent weeks, unprecedented wildfires have burned millions of acres on the West Coast and pushed half a million people to evacuate their homes. At least 24 people have been killed in the blazes. Smoke and ash have blanketed urban centers, creating eerie apocalyptic vistas and causing air pollution concentrations to spike ten times or more—well above levels considered safe to breathe.

July 29, 2020 Major Climate Initiative in the Northeastern U.S. Benefits Children’s Health

 A new study by researchers from the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH) at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health reports that the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has been successful in reducing fine particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions and substantially improving children’s health, both major co-benefits of this climate policy. Among the benefits between 2009-2014 were an estimated 537 avoided cases of childhood asthma, 112 preterm births, 98 cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and 56 cases of term low birthweight. The associated economic savings were estimated at $191 to $350 million over the years. These findings are published today in Environmental Health Perspectives.

May 15, 2020 Context is Crucial in Discussion of COVID Disparities

As news reports highlight the devastating impact of COVID-19 in communities of color, including elevated rates of severe illness and death, Columbia Mailman School experts say more attention should be paid to factors that give rise to those outcomes.

May 7, 2020 Covid-19 Disparities in New York City

During a May 7 media briefing, Professors Diana HernandezMarkus Hilpert, and Micaela Martinez explained that high rates of COVID-19 in communities of color is a consequence of health disparities related to race, location, and socioeconomic status. Hernandez and Hilpert presented similar information on COVID-19 disparities as part of testimony to the New York City Council. (Watch a video of the media briefing).

May 12, 2020 Grocery Depot Brings Increased Traffic to the South Bronx

The 2018 opening of a FreshDirect warehouse in Mott Haven, Bronx, significantly increased truck and vehicle flow within that neighborhood, leading to small upticks in air and noise pollution, according to a new study led by scientists at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Results are published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

May 05, 2020 Employers Value Public Health Training in Climate Change

Researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health found that 92 percent of employers who responded to a survey on climate change and public health reported that a need for public health professionals with training in climate change will very likely increase in the next 5 to 10 years. While graduates of public health programs who focus on climate change are in demand in the current job market as well, these positions appear to be just a small proportion of the total number of jobs available in the field of public health. The findings are published online in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Apr 10, 2020: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Honors Dr. Frederica Perera

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences named Frederica Perera, DrPH, PhD, professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, recipient of the 19th Annual Spirit Lecture Award. Established in 2002, the award recognizes highly respected, outstanding women of notable achievement. Dr. Perera was honored for her research efforts in biomarker development in cancer and the role of the environment in fetal development and children's health as well as her extensive community outreach, health advocacy efforts, and dedication to mentoring the next generation of scientists.

January 15, 2020: Mix of Stress and Air Pollution May Lead to Cognitive Difficulties in Children

Children with elevated exposure to early life stress in the home and elevated prenatal exposure to air pollution exhibited heightened symptoms of attention and thought problems, according to researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and Columbia Psychiatry. Early life stress is common in youth from disadvantaged backgrounds who also often live in areas with greater exposure to air pollution.

What Happens to All That Plastic?

January 6, 2020: Plasticizers May Contribute to Motor Control Problems in Girls

Scientists at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH) have uncovered a link between prenatal exposure to phthalates—a ubiquitous group of plasticizers and odor-enhancing chemicals—and deficits in motor function in girls. Phthalates are widely used in consumer products from plastic toys to household building materials to shampoos and are thought to disrupt endocrine function, and possibly interfere with brain development in utero.

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December 23, 2019: Moms’ Obesity in Pregnancy Is Linked to Lag in Sons’ Development and IQ

A mother’s obesity in pregnancy can affect her child’s development years down the road, according to researchers who found lagging motor skills in preschoolers and lower IQ in middle childhood for boys whose mothers were severely overweight while pregnant.

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Dec 12, 2019: Study Highlights High Cost of Fossil Fuel Pollution on Children’s Health 

A new study by researchers at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH) at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health is the first to compile the estimated per-case costs of six childhood health conditions linked to air pollution—estimates that can be incorporated into benefits assessments of air pollution regulations and climate change mitigation policies.

May 29, 2019: Clean Air Taxis Cut Pollution in New York City: Study

NEW YORK (May 29, 2019)—New York City Clean Air Taxi rules are successful in cutting emissions and reducing air pollution, according to a new study by researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and Drexel University. Between 2009 and 2015, the legislation more than doubled the fuel efficiency of the fleet of 13,500 yellow taxis, leading to estimated declines in air pollution emissions. The findings are published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.

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