Irva Hertz-Picciotto

Numbers count: Profile of Irva Hertz-Picciotto

Irva Hertz-Picciotto, MPH, MA, PhD is an environmental epidemiologist studying how exposure to substances like metals, pesticides, air pollutants and endocrine disruptors interact with nutrition, genetics and social factors, especially during pregnancy and early child development.

Renowned for her pioneering expertise on environmental factors linked to autism, she’s produced seminal papers on the role exposure to pesticides, traffic-related air pollution, low folic acid intake and untreated fever during pregnancy have on the development of autism in children.

Folic acid may mitigate autism risk

April 18, 2018

Researchers at UC Davis and other institutions have shown that mothers who take recommended amounts of folic acid around conception might reduce their children’s pesticide-related autism risk. In the study, children whose mothers took 800 or more micrograms of folic acid (the amount in most prenatal vitamins) had a significantly lower risk of developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – even when their mothers were exposed to household or agricultural pesticides associated with increased risk. The study appears in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

The cores

Like other centers sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the research we do at the UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center (EHSC) can be broken up into three key areas or "cores." Contact any one of the co-directors below for more information.

Our mission

The UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center bridges the gap between science and health. Learn how its research is building healthier communities.

New research on wildfires in California

“We know what natural wildfire smoke is composed of, but we have no idea what will be in urban wildfire smoke. We expect it to be very different.” Keith Bein, UC Davis Air Quality Research Center

 

Researchers from the UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center (EHSC) are working with communities across California to study the impact smoke and burned debris have had on survivors of wildfires over the past two years.

Message from the Director - Climate change and health

June 05, 2017

The decision in Washington last week to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, which was signed by 195 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, is a step in the wrong direction, at a time when more, not less, is needed. Even the negotiators of the Agreement pointed out that collectively, the goals set by individual countries for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions were insufficient to avert adverse impacts of climate change.

Project TENDR

Project TENDR is a unique collaboration of leading scientists, health professionals and children’s and environmental advocates.  The group, co founded by EHS Center Director, Irva Hertz-Picciotto and Maureen Swanson of the Learning Disabilities Association of America, formed in 2015 out of concern over the now substantial scientific evidence linking toxic environmental chemicals to neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder, attention deficits, hyperactivity, intellectual disability and learning disorders.

Project TENDR (Video)

February 24, 2017

Leading health professionals, scientists and advocates agree that exposure to chemicals are putting children at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders like autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and learning disabilities.

UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center Director Irva Hertz-Picciotto is leading initiatives around these environmental impacts on kids. One such push is Project TENDR (Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks), an organization working to protect infants and children from preventable threats to healthy brain development.