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Stay up to date with our recent research findings, news features, and publications below! Our blog is a great place to learn more detailed information about the collective nationwide network of Children's Environmental Health researchers and their findings.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the everyday structure of life nationwide and around the world. Schools and jobs have gone completely remote, the nationwide unemployment levels are at an all-time high, friends and loved ones have been personally affected by the virus, and there are so many uncertainties and stress as a result.

Many of us have not seen anything like this pandemic in our lifetime. While dealing with the stressors, anxieties, and effects of the pandemic is a struggle for adults, the mental health and wellness of children is just as important to consider during these times.

Talking with your children about a global pandemic is surely not something most parents have been prepared for, but it is important to have conversations with your children to ease their anxieties.

Children may worry about themselves, their family, and friends getting ill with COVID-19. Parents, family members, school staff, and other trusted adults can play an important role in helping children make sense of what they hear in a way that is honest, accurate, and minimizes anxiety or fear.

The CDC recommends the tips below for talking with your children about COVID-19:

  • Remain calm. Remember that children will react to both what you say and how you say it. They will pick up cues from the conversations you have with them and with others.

  • Reassure children that they are safe. Let them know it is okay if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.

  • Make yourself available to listen and to talk. Let children know they can come to you when they have questions.

  • Avoid language that might blame others and lead to stigma.

  • Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio, or online. Consider reducing the amount of screen time focused on COVID-19. Too much information on one topic can lead to anxiety.

  • Provide information that is truthful and appropriate for the age and developmental level of the child. Talk to children about how some stories on COVID-19 on the Internet and social media may be based on rumors and inaccurate information. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.

  • Teach children everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs. Remind children to wash their hands frequently and stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing or sick. Also, remind them to cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow, then throw the tissue into the trash.

  • If school is open, discuss any new actions that may be taken at school to help protect children and school staff.

Facts about COVID-19 to discuss with children Try to keep information simple and remind them that health are working hard to keep everyone safe and healthy.

What is COVID-19?

  • COVID-19 is the short name for “coronavirus disease 2019.” It is a new virus. Scientists and doctors are still learning about it.

  • Recently, this virus has made a lot of people sick. Scientists and doctors are trying to learn more so they can help people who get sick.

  • Doctors and health experts are working hard to help people stay healthy.

What can I do so that I don’t get COVID-19? You can practice healthy habits at home, school, and play to help protect against the spread of COVID-19. What happens if you get sick with COVID-19?

  • COVID-19 can look different in different people. For many people, being sick with COVID-19 would be a little bit like having the flu. People can get a fever, cough, or have a hard time taking deep breaths. Most people who have gotten COVID-19 have not gotten very sick. Only a small group of people who get it have had more serious problems.

  • If you do get sick, it doesn’t mean you have COVID-19. People can get sick from all kinds of germs. What’s important to remember is that if you do get sick, the adults at home will help get you any help that you need.


Did you know that toxic metals are not always adequately tested for in baby food? Ingredients in baby food are contaminated with heavy metals like arsenic, lead and cadmium at levels that are far higher than those allowed in other products such as bottled water. Arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury are in the World Health Organization's top 10 chemicals of concern for infants and children. As natural elements, they are in the soil in which crops are grown and thus can't be avoided. Some crop fields and regions, however, contain more toxic levels than others, partly due to the overuse of metal-containing pesticides and ongoing industrial pollution. heavy metals have been linked to cancer, chronic disease and neurotoxic effects, but it's the devastating damage that can be done to a developing baby's brain that makes baby food toxicity so critical.

The US Food and Drug Administration has not yet set minimum levels for heavy metals in most infant food. The agency did set a standard of 100 parts per billion inorganic arsenic for infant rice cereal, but even that level is considered much too high for baby's safety, critics say, especially since the FDA has already set a much lower standard of 10 parts per billion of inorganic arsenic for bottled water.

So what can you do?

Avoid rice cereal and rice flour products

Parents can reduce their baby's exposure to arsenic in rice products by limiting their intake of infant rice cereal or other products and snacks that are made with rice flour. Substitute rice-based cereals with infant oatmeal cereal or other grains.

Avoid Juice and choose a variety of fruits & veggies

Ingredients in many baby foods, including some organic fare, are contaminated with heavy metals like arsenic, lead and cadmium at levels that are far higher than those allowed in products like bottled water, congressional investigators said on Thursday.

Remember "organic" does not mean metal-free

Ingredients in many baby foods, including some organic fare, are contaminated with heavy metals like arsenic, lead and cadmium at levels that are far higher than those allowed in products like bottled water, congressional investigators said on Thursday.

We can't believe how quickly this month flew by! Earlier this month we had the opportunity to attend the Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) conference in North Carolina. The National Institute of Environmental Health Services (NIEHS) established the PEPH conference in 2009 as a means to promote community engagement in the field of environmental public health.

We also had the opportunity to meet with Congressman Peter Welch's office this month. The purpose of our meeting was to discuss our research and the impacts its had since we started enrolling study participants in 2009. We met with Thifeen Deen, a Health Care and Human Services Outreach Representative. Over lunch, we discussed the origins of our interest in studying the effects of naturally occurring arsenic throughout New Hampshire and Vermont bedrock. With Groundwater Awareness Week coming up in March, we stressed the importance of regularly testing well-water to ensure that unsafe amounts of arsenic are not contaminating your water source if you have a private well system.

To learn more about Groundwater Awareness Week visit the Groundwater Association's website here.

Check back in with us in March for helpful tips on how to test your private well!

Scroll through the pics below to see some of our favorite presentations at the conference.

Dr. Maida Galvez, a pediatrician from the Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Galvez presented on the importance of environmental health screening during routine pediatric care.

Virginia Guidry PhD, is the Branch Head of Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology at North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. She presented on PFAS water contamination in North Carolina

Claudia Thompson PhD, is the Chief of the Population Health branch at NIEHS. She is seen here giving closing remarks about the future of PEPH.

We were also pleased to be mentioned in a presentation about Community Engagement through Social Media use. Our social media platforms were used an example of great engaging social media practice!

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