CHAPS - SJV: About Us

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.



Study History (top)


The goal of the Fresno Asthmatic Children’s Environment Study (FACES) was to examine how exposures to air pollution impacted short-term asthma exacerbations and whether these exacerbations influence the progression of childhood asthma over the course of several years.  It also aimed to examine whether other environmental factors like tobacco smoke, allergens or housing characteristics influence children’s response to air pollution.
FACES data was collected from 2000- 2008.
The first phase of the study was funded by the California Air Resources Board (ARB). The current phase of the study is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Mickey Leland National Urban Air Toxics Research Center. The two Principal Investigators, Drs. Ira Tager and Katharine Hammond, are Professors at the School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley.
Children and their families were recruited from local health care organizations and through community advertisements. To be eligible for the study, children were required to have a physician diagnosis of asthma, current asthma symptoms and a residence in the geographic region for which detailed air pollution monitoring data are available. Children had to be 6 to 11 years old upon entry into the study. Participants are now as old as 18. Recruitment for the study ended in April 2005 and data collection ended in September 2008.
An in-person baseline interview was conducted at the research site. This visit included skin testing, pulmonary function testing and extensive questions about the child’s health and home environment. In the first phase of the study, participants completed a shortened version of the baseline interview every three months. In the second phase of the study, participants came to the research office once each year. Children were also given diaries and portable spirometers to be used every day for 2-weeks. Children were asked to do this part of the study twice a year.

      • CHAPS

The Children’s Health and Air Pollution Study-San Joaquin Valley (CHAPS) was developed to build on the work of FACES and to expand the scope of research.  It began as a 3-year pilot project to establish relationships with community partners and deliver a first round of research results with the intention of securing the funding to become the Children’s Environmental Health Center it is today.  CHAPS continues to be funded jointly by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  
CHAPS is a collaborative effort of researchers from the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, Stanford Medical School and Sonoma Technology, Inc. 
In its first 3 years, the overall goal of CHAPS was to study the effects of in utero (fetal) and childhood exposure to outdoor air pollutants and bioaerosols (pollens, fungi and bacterial products) on:

  • Birth outcomes (low birth weight, small for gestational age, prematurity, congenital birth defects)
  • Specialized cells in the body called regulatory T-cells (T-reg) function, which are needed for a normal pregnancy and to control allergic responses that are associated with asthma and other allergic diseases such as hayfever.

Each CHAPS project worked to answer the following questions:

  • Project 1:  What neighborhood-level and social characteristics influence women’s susceptibility to outdoor air pollution during pregnancy?
  • Project 2:  Does exposure to outdoor air pollution during critical periods of fetal development increase the chance of structural birth defects? Are there characteristics that exacerbate air pollution’s effects on adverse pregnancy outcomes such as low birth weight and prematurity?
  • Project 3:  Are there associations between outdoor air pollution exposure damage to regulatory T-cells (T-reg) and asthma onset and exacerbations as well as the onset of childhood type 2 diabetes and obesity?

  • Exposure Core: What air pollution and health impacts shall be measured and by what techniques?
  • Biostatistics Core: What methods will be used to produce unique, useful outcomes?
  • Community Outreach & Translation Core: How can we best work with local organizations that prioritize children’s and environmental health work and how can we produce accessible study result communications?





Staff (top)

Link to Personnel Page




Partners (top)

      1. Science Advisory Board
        1. Links to organizations/departments
      2. Link to Community Page and mention CAB


      1. Funders/Institutions—Thank you
        1. National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences
        2. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
      1. Study Participants—link to Get Involved page





FAQs (top)



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