Read the full study by Stephanie Eick et al. (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)

Abstract: Background. Infants whose mothers experience greater psychosocial stress and environmental chemical exposures during pregnancy may face greater rates of preterm birth, lower birth weight, and impaired neurodevelopment. Methods. ECHO.CA.IL is composed of two cohorts, Chemicals in Our Bodies (CIOB; n = 822 pregnant women and n = 286 infants) and Illinois Kids Development Study (IKIDS; n = 565 mother-infant pairs), which recruit pregnant women from San Francisco, CA and Urbana-Champaign, IL, respectively. We examined associations between demographic characteristics and gestational age, birth weight z-scores, and cognition at 7.5 months across these two cohorts using linear models. We also examined differences in biomarkers of exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), measured in second-trimester serum, and psychosocial stressors by cohort and participant demographics. Results. To date, these cohorts have recruited over 1300 pregnant women combined. IKIDS has mothers who are majority white (80%), whereas CIOB mothers are racially and ethnically diverse (38% white, 34% Hispanic, 17% Asian/Pacific Islander). Compared to CIOB, median levels of PFOS, a specific PFAS congener, are higher in IKIDS (2.45 ng/mL versus 1.94 ng/mL), while psychosocial stressors are higher among CIOB. Across both cohorts, women who were non-white and single had lower birth weight z-scores relative to white women and married women, respectively. Demographic characteristics are not associated with cognitive outcomes at 7.5 months. Conclusions. This profile of the ECHO.CA.IL cohort found that mothers and their infants who vary in terms of socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, and geographic location are similar in many of our measures of exposures and cognitive outcomes. Similar to past work, we found that non-white and single women had lower birth weight infants than white and married women. We also found differences in levels of PFOS and psychosocial stressors based on geographic location.