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Open Access Study protocol

Rationale and study design of the Japan environment and children’s study (JECS)

Toshihiro Kawamoto12*, Hiroshi Nitta1, Katsuyuki Murata3, Eisaku Toda4, Naoya Tsukamoto4, Manabu Hasegawa4, Zentaro Yamagata5, Fujio Kayama6, Reiko Kishi7, Yukihiro Ohya8, Hirohisa Saito8, Haruhiko Sago8, Makiko Okuyama8, Tsutomu Ogata8, Susumu Yokoya8, Yuji Koresawa1, Yasuyuki Shibata1, Shoji Nakayama1, Takehiro Michikawa1, Ayano Takeuchi1, Hiroshi Satoh1 and Working Group of the Epidemiological Research for Children’s Environmental Health

Author Affiliations

1 National Center for Japan Environment and Children’s Study, National Institute for Environmental Studies, 16-2, Onogawa, Tsukuba 305-8506, Japan

2 Department of Environmental Health, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, 1-1 Iseigaoka, Yahatanishi-ku, Kitakyushu 807-8555, Japan

3 Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Akita University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-1 Hondo, Akita City 010-8543, Japan

4 Environment Risk Assessment Office, Environmental Health Department, the Ministry of the Environment, 1-2-2 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8975, Japan

5 Department of Health Sciences, Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Medicine and Engineering, University of Yamanashi, 1110 Shimogato, Chuo, Yamanashi 409-3898, Japan

6 Division of Environmental Toxicology, School of Medicine, Jichi Medical School, 3311-1 Yakushiji, Shimotsuke-City, Tochigi 329-0498, Japan

7 Hokkaido Unit Center, Center for Environmental and Health Sciences, Hokkaido University, Kita 12, Nishi 7, Kita-ku, Sapporo-City, Hokkaido 060-0812, Japan

8 Medical Support Center for Japan Environment and Children’s Study, National Center for Child Health and Development, 2-10-1 Okura, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 157-8535, Japan

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:25  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-25

Published: 10 January 2014

Abstract

Background

There is global concern over significant threats from a wide variety of environmental hazards to which children face. Large-scale and long-term birth cohort studies are needed for better environmental management based on sound science. The primary objective of the Japan Environment and Children’s Study (JECS), a nation-wide birth cohort study that started its recruitment in January 2011, is to elucidate environmental factors that affect children’s health and development.

Methods/Design

Approximately 100,000 expecting mothers who live in designated study areas will be recruited over a 3-year period from January 2011. Participating children will be followed until they reach 13 years of age. Exposure to environmental factors will be assessed by chemical analyses of bio-specimens (blood, cord blood, urine, breast milk, and hair), household environment measurements, and computational simulations using monitoring data (e.g. ambient air quality monitoring) as well as questionnaires. JECS’ priority outcomes include reproduction/pregnancy complications, congenital anomalies, neuropsychiatric disorders, immune system disorders, and metabolic/endocrine system disorders. Genetic factors, socioeconomic status, and lifestyle factors will also be examined as covariates and potential confounders. To maximize representativeness, we adopted provider-mediated community-based recruitment.

Discussion

Through JECS, chemical substances to which children are exposed during the fetal stage or early childhood will be identified. The JECS results will be translated to better risk assessment and management to provide healthy environment for next generations.

Keywords:
Birth cohort; Children; Growth and development; Environmental chemicals; Pregnant women