About Us

About Pediatric Environmental Health

Exposures from the environment can have significant and potentially lifelong health consequences. Environmental exposures of concern include biological, chemical, and radiological hazards, both naturally occurring and as a result of human activity. Children are especially at risk because exposures can interfere with their rapid ongoing development. In addition, children are at increased risk for certain exposures due to their behaviors, such as crawling on the ground, putting their hands and other objects in their mouths, or eating paint chips or other non-food items. Children also breathe more air, drink more water, and eat more food per pound of body weight than adults, increasing their potential level of exposure. Fortunately, much can be done to protect children by identifying and eliminating or minimizing any ongoing exposures of concern and avoiding future exposures.



Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSU) is a national network of academically based specialists dedicated to providing expertise to clinicians, public health professionals, policy-makers, and the public on environmental factors that influence children's health. The Northwest PEHSU:

  • Is an academically based, nonprofit agency that offers its services at no cost. It is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
  • Serves the EPA's Region 10, which consists of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington
  • Was established in 1997 with the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. 
  • Has a staff of seven, including two pediatricians who specialize in environmental medicine, a medical fellow and public health professional, two nurse/public health consultants, an industrial hygienist, and a program coordinator.
  • Our mission is to improve reproductive and pediatric environmental health outcomes by:
    • Increasing knowledge and awareness about environmental health issues through training, outreach, and education
    • Offering consultation services to assist healthcare professionals with the recognition, management, and prevention of environmentally related health conditions in children and in adults of reproductive age
    • Providing evidence-based medical information and advice to public health professionals, clinicians, policy-makers, individuals, and communities

Pediatric Environmental Health Hot Topics

Emerging and ongoing exposures of concern in the Northwest include:
  • Lead.
  • Wildfire Smoke.
  • Pesticides.
  • Allergens.
  • Marijuana.
  • PFAS and PFOA.
  • BPA and Phthalates.
  • Second-hand tobacco smoke.
  • Refugee health.


This website was supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and funded (in part) by the cooperative agreement award number 5 NU61TS000296-02-00 from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

Acknowledgement: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supports the PEHSU by providing partial funding to ATSDR under Inter-Agency Agreement number DW-75-95877701. Neither EPA nor ATSDR endorse the purchase of any commercial products or services mentioned in PEHSU publications.