Skip to navigation menu Skip to content

Sathyanarayana Lab

Studying How Chemicals Affect Children

The Sathyanarayana Lab investigates how chemicals in our environment impact children, and develops ways to reduce chemical exposures and help families lead healthier lives.

The lab’s current research looks at how endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as phthalates, that are in our general environment and everyday products, affect how children develop, starting with babies in the womb. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are found in many everyday products, including some cosmetics, food and beverage packaging, toys, building materials, and pesticides. These chemicals can affect hormones in the body that are important for growth and development.

We are part of a multicenter research team that found that phthalates can adversely affect how male genitals develop, increasing the risk of future reproductive problems. We are now working on several studies to investigate how endocrine-disrupting chemicals affect children’s respiratory health and neurodevelopment, as well as to understand the biological pathways through which these chemicals affect health. In addition, we are interested in understanding prenatal and early childhood factors that may protect against the effects of chemical exposures.

Watch Dr. Sathyanarayana discuss the dangers of environmental chemicals.

Helping Families Avoid Chemicals

Our research is an extension of Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana’s clinical and policy work. As a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington, Sathyanarayana counsels families on how to reduce chemicals in their lives. She also co-directs the University of Washington’s Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit, where she educates physicians and residents about how environmental exposures affect health – and on ways to incorporate this evidence into clinical practice.

Promoting Policies That Reduce Chemical Exposures

On the policy front, Sathyanarayana constantly seeks new ways to translate research into policies that improve children’s lives. She co-chaired the Environmental Protection Agency’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee for four years and served on a National Academies of Science Committee that examines the health impacts of endocrine-disrupting chemical exposures. These positions enable her to work with policy makers to improve regulations and protect children from chemicals’ harmful effects.

Dr. Sathyanarayana’s policy-related positions have included:

  • Past Committee member, National Academies of Science Committee to examine the effects of low dose endocrine disruptor chemical toxicity
  • Past co-chair, Academic Pediatrics Association, Environmental Health Special Interest Group
  • Past elected member, appointed co-chair and appointed chair, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee
  • Past appointed liaison, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Science Advisory Board

 Please see the media page for a complete listing of news and the publications page for summaries of scientific publications.  

Contact Us

Physical Address

Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development
1920 Terry Ave.
Seattle, WA 98101