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 Environmental Summit Summary

On May 13, 2011, National Children’s Study scientists and leading environmental exposure and child development experts gathered on NIH’s Main Campus for the National Children’s Study Environmental Summit. Their aim was to share information about linking environmental exposures across the critical stages of child growth and development. Experts came from across the country and from numerous health science disciplines.

One goal of the Summit was to determine what is known about susceptibilities during the major critical stages of a child’s growth and development—especially those in the first 6 years of life. Experts discussed the key developmental stages and transition points between stages that occur in the child. They described important environmental exposures and their potential consequences at these developmental stages. They noted where scientific information is absent or limited, often providing suggestions for future research.  

Participants also shared their experience and expertise on the instruments that can be used to gather information about a child’s environment, including emerging and innovative technologies that, with some additional investigation, could be further developed, tested, and considered for a large-scale study as broad as the National Children’s Study.  

Results of this meeting will be summarized in a report and used in consideration for selection of Study visit schedules and measures aligned to these major growth and development stages. 

Since 2009, a pilot phase of the National Children’s Study, known as the Vanguard Study, has been underway in 37 locations around the United States. The insights gained at the Environmental Summit will help prepare the National Children’s Study to launch the Main Study in 2012 that will follow 100,000 children from before birth to age 21, in order to learn how the environment influences children’s health, development, and quality of life.  

A report from the Summit will be posted here once it is available.