The Western States PEHSU has an ongoing collaboration with the Center for Integrative Research on Childhood Leukemia and the Environment (CIRCLE) Community Outreach and Translation Core, working to educate clinicians and the public about environmental toxicants that increase the risk of childhood leukemia and other childhood diseases. Taking steps to avoid or reduce these exposures to the fetus and the child may help prevent some childhood leukemias. CIRCLE seeks to discover how environmental exposures and genetics interact to cause childhood leukemia in an effort to prevent the disease. CIRCLE is a Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Center jointly funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). CIRCLE was initiated in 2008. For more information on CIRCLE’s research, visit their website.

Dr. Mark Miller, the WSPEHSU Director, addresses prevention of childhood leukemia in this talk at the Cancer Free Economy Conference in Pittsburgh, January, 2019. Dr. Miller reviews the evidence regarding childhood leukemia risks and environmental exposures. He discusses increased risks of childhood leukemia associated with exposures to pesticides, tobacco smoke, solvents, and traffic-related pollution and reduced risks associated with adequate folate before conception and early in pregnancy, breastfeeding, and early exposure to routine childhood infections. He argues that waiting for complete scientific evidence for decision-making will result in significant delays in safeguarding children’s health.

One of our first collaborations with CIRCLE was The Story of Health chapter on childhood leukemia, Steven’s Story.

Our work with CIRCLE includes outreach to Promotores de Salud-community health workers who work in their communities to educate about health and prevention of disease. In our train-the-trainer workshops with Promotores, we focus on environmental health exposures of reproductive age young people and the consequences for their future children. For more information see Improving Environmental Health Literacy of Young Adults.

Much progress has been made by CIRCLE to identify causes of childhood leukemia! To share some important and exciting lessons from this research, CIRCLE has launched three colorful new informational webpages designed to help protect children from leukemia.

Informational Resources

Rosa and Carlos Plan a Family

You should go talk to your doctor about getting ready to be pregnant.Rosa and Carlos Plan a Family’ is an informational webpage that follows a young couple as they prepare to have a child. Raising a healthy child begins before the pregnancy and the five infographics featured on the page emphasize that it is important to start protecting a child’s health before s/he is even conceived. Topics covered include the risk of smoking before conception and the benefit of taking a prenatal multivitamin with folic acid very early in the first trimester.

The webpage relies on adaptive web design to show the infographics in a variety of formats for different screen sizes, including mobile devices.

Because Latino children are at the greatest risk for leukemia, CIRCLE is eager to reach the Latino community with these messages – so these webpages can be viewed in English or Spanish.

Carlos counts, too! Fathers play an important role in protecting children from leukemia, starting before conception and continuing into childhood.

All of the tips for protecting children from leukemia that are provided on the webpage are based on rigorous scientific research; however, the characters are fun and relatable and the story-telling is engaging.

Dirty Little Secrets About House Dust

Dirty Little Secrets About House DustThe dust that settles in our homes may seem harmless, but ‘Dirty Little Secrets’ explains that house dust can actually be harmful to your family’s health.  In a series of three short videos, this webpage lays out the hazards of house dust contaminated by toxic chemicals and shares tips to avoid exposure to chemicals in the home. The story is related by five-year-old Eleanor, who learned about house dust from her dad, an environmental health scientist.

New Video: Cause or Cure?

Is the Relentless Pursuit of a Cure Hazardous to our Health?

Over the past 50 years, we’ve clung to the belief that we would find cures for cancer, heart disease and other chronic diseases. Yet the real victories – like the elimination of polio and the decline in lung cancer – resulted from efforts to prevent disease. Our unwavering belief in biotechnology to solve our health problems fails to recognize that the pandemic of chronic disease is largely due to the technologies of the past: motor vehicles, tobacco, air pollution, unhealthy processed foods and toxic chemicals. People get it; over 70% of Americans favor spending more on prevention. Yet 95% of our health dollars are spent on medical care and expensive drugs. Using childhood leukemia and autism as examples, this animation initiates a dialogue about preventing chronic disease and disabilities.

Preventing Childhood Leukemia Infographics