Children's Health & Air Pollution Study - San Joaquin Valley


The Children’s Health & Air Pollution Study-San Joaquin Valley (CHAPS) strives to understand and reduce the risks of air pollution exposure to children’s health in the San Joaquin Valley, California.

To accomplish this mission, we investigate the exposures on youth during critical growth stages; assess the effects on development, immune health, and inflammation; test how a child’s exposure to vehicular pollution is connected to where and how they live; and sustain active partnerships with community organizations that prioritize air pollution, environment, and health in their work.

CHAPS is a partnership between University of California, Berkeley; Stanford University, Sonoma Technology, Inc.; California State University, Fresno; and University of San Francisco-Fresno. CHAPS is funded by the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Why Study Children?
Youth are more vulnerable to environmental hazards than adults. Children breathe more air (and pollution) per body weight unit. They also may be more vulnerable to environmental risks because they have less developed immune, neurological and other bodily systems.
Why the SJV? Why Fresno?
The San Joaquin Valley, and Fresno in particular, are identified as areas that are highly subject to environmental hazards, health risks, concentrated poverty, and social vulnerability. Social vulnerability is the combination of many social, economic, environmental and place factors that describe a person or community’s burden.

Air pollution concentrations in the San Joaquin Valley are commonly above federal clean air standards. In other words, the air is frequently very polluted and unhealthy. The health costs of the region’s polluted air are many and include some of the highest youth asthma rates in the nation, high levels of hospital admittance and emergency room visits linked to asthma complications, increased cardiovascular disease risks, and even premature death.
What health issues do we study?
Structural birth defects (for example, cleft palate, and spina bifida)
Birth outcomes (for example, early birth, low birth weight, and small for gestational age)
Type II diabetes