Scientist looking forward

Research at the Center

Research at The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® (DIEHC) at Hackensack University Medical Center explores everyday environmental exposures with the goal of improving public health. The DIEHC partners with departments across the HackensackMeridian network and other institutions to design innovative research in environmental health and translate findings into real-world solutions through community outreach, website resources, and clinical education.

Completed Studies


Environmental Chemicals in
Fetal Cord Blood and Maternal
A Pilot Study.


Environmental Chemicals and
Estrogen Metabolites in
Children: A Pilot Study


Safety and Efficacy of a 100%
Dimethicone Pediculocide in
School-age Children



Mapping Contaminants Associated
 with Autism: A Public Health Pilot
in New Jersey 


The impact of integrating
environmental health into medical
school curricula: a survey-based study



Current Studies

Environmental Health Needs of Latinas in Cleaning Occupations

Exposures to common chemicals with adverse health effects including cancer and endocrine disruption can occur from everyday contact with cleaning products. These often contain a “chemical soup” of ingredients that are not required to be tested for safety by any federal agency before going to market. Females are particularly susceptible to potential effects of chemicals in cleaning products, as they typically have higher exposures both in the home and in domestic services occupations. In the United States, 90.1 percent of 1,512,000 maids and housekeeping cleaners are female, and of those 49.3 percent are Latino or Hispanic (U.S. Department of Labor, 2017).

For this population, knowledge about health risks associated with occupational cleaning may be limited by lack of professional job training, unavailability of safety materials in non-English languages, and lack of personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves. The purpose of this study is to first explore the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of a bicultural population of Latina women from different countries of origin and acculturation levels and second, to understand their environmental health needs. This is a growing public health concern, as Latinos comprise 17.8% of the estimated U.S. population, and is expected to reach 27.5% by the year 2060, which is an increase of 93.2% from 2016 to 2060 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2018).


Endocrine disruptors, obesity, and breast density among perimenopausal women

This collaborative pilot study between Georgetown Lombardi Cancer Center with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® and The Betty Torricelli Institute for Breast Care at HackensackUMC investigates the association of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) with breast density among women undergoing mammographic screening. Washington, DC, and New Jersey have almost identical rates of breast cancer (~130 per 100,000 women) which are higher than the average U.S. population rates (122 per 100,000). Increased knowledge on the role of estrogen (and progesterone) in breast carcinogenesis suggests that environmental exposures that mimic estrogen effects in vivo, such as, endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and other xenoestrogens, may be potential risk factors for breast cancer.



Additional Publications

Caring for our Most Vulnerable Patients Through Sustainable Purchasing Practices

Exploring Latinidad, Migration Processes, and Immigrant Experiences: Experiences Influencing Latino Health

Environmental Health Guidance: Essential for Pediatric Oncology Patients?

Improving Public Databases for Advancing Environmental Health

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