A network of experts in reproductive and children’s environmental health

About the PEHSU Program > What are Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSUs)?

What are Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSUs)?

posted on Jul 1, 2021

The Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSUs) are a national network of experts in the prevention, diagnosis, management, and treatment of health issues that arise from environmental exposures from preconception through adolescence.

Children are uniquely susceptible to the health effects of environmental hazards. Their rapid development, proximity to the ground, and the fact that they eat, drink, and breathe more per pound of bodyweight make children particularly vulnerable to environmental exposures. Children and families who are underrepresented and/or who live in underserved communities are even more likely to suffer the effects of environmental hazards and disasters.

Effectively addressing these challenges facing children and families requires a health care system that is knowledgeable and capable in environmental health and can address prevention, risk reduction, and early exposure detection. Collaboration among reproductive and pediatric health care professionals, who are routinely viewed as trusted sources of health information by families and communities, is necessary to increase the capacity of health care systems to ensure the health of children and families.

To address gaps in clinical education on these complex issues, PEHSU services include education, consultation, outreach, and referral for both health professionals and communities. These services are essential to reduce risk of environmental exposures to children and families and mitigate potential health effects before they happen.

There are 10 PEHSUs, each responsible for a different geographical region of the United States (US). Each PEHSU is based at an academic health institution with experts in pediatrics, allergy/immunology, neurodevelopment, toxicology, occupational and environmental medicine, nursing, reproductive health as well as other specialized areas. The PEHSUs work together to address any reproductive and children’s environmental health issue that affects families and communities, including safer disinfectant use (especially during the COVID-19 pandemic), wildfire smoke, PFAS, lead, pesticides, mold, and many more.

PEHSU Mission Statement

The mission of the PEHSU program is to improve reproductive and children's health by leading the integration of environmental health into clinical care and public health while supporting communities to address historical injustices and ongoing environmental racism and address the existential threat of climate change.

PEHSU Vision Statement

Healthy Environments For All Children – Powered By PEHSU