About the The Infant Development and Environment Study (TIDES)

What is TIDES?

Participation in The Infant Development and Environment Study (TIDES) began when pregnant mothers were in their first trimester of pregnancy and ended shortly after birth for girl babies and at 1-year old for boy babies. During the first 5 years of TIDES, we enrolled almost 800 moms and their babies across four research study sites. Our study suggests that prenatal exposure to common chemicals in our diet and homes – phthalates, which make plastics soft and flexible – may affect reproductive tract development during pregnancy of boys, but not that of girls, and these results are affected by the amount of stress the moms reported during pregnancy.

Why is this Study Important?

Because of the success of the initial TIDES and the importance of these and other findings related to phthalate exposures, the National Institutes of Health has funded the continuation of TIDES, which we are calling TIDES II. This phase will allow us to follow you and your TIDES child.
TIDES II is important because we have the opportunity to extend our knowledge beyond pregnancy and learn about the potential effects of prenatal and postnatal phthalates on the development of young children. We want to answer questions about how the environment and events occurring now and during pregnancy affect a child’s growth, well-being and behavior as he or she grows between today and 6 years old.

What Does Participation in TIDES II Involve?

Participation in TIDES II will consist of two clinic visits for each participating family over the course of 3 years.

The age 4 clinic visit includes:

  • An online questionnaire to be completed prior to the clinic visit
  • A few additional surveys to be completed at the clinic visit
  • The following measurements on your TIDES child: height, weight, skin folds, blood pressure, finger length and collection of a urine specimen

The age 6 clinic visit includes:

  • An online questionnaire to be completed prior to the clinic visit
  • A few additional surveys to be completed at the clinic visit
  • The same measures on your TIDES child as in the age 4 visit as well as an assessment of play behavior, a measure of arterial stiffness and collection of two saliva specimens

Participant families (mother and child) will receive $75 in gift cards for the first visit and $125 in gift cards for the second visit, totaling $200 in gift cards for the completion of all study requirements.

TIDES Publications

Click here for a list of published TIDES articles.

Click here for a list of U of M TIDES-specific published articles.

Study Clinic Visits Location

All mother and child clinic visits for TIDES II will take place at the Epidemiology Clinical Research Center (ECRC). The ECRC is a short distance from campus, easy to get to, and parking is free. Directions to ECRC.

ECRC-parkingUpon arrival at the ECRC, please come through the main doors and take the stairs (or elevator) to the second floor. A receptionist will be in the front office to welcome you.

Fall 2021 Update

The TIDES study continues to make important contributions to understanding the impacts of environmental exposures on children’s health. Currently, our TIDES kids are ages 9 – 10! The TIDES families continue to participate in TIDES as well as the ECHO Program, funded by the Office of the Director of NIH. The Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program is a national research project that includes over 70 cohorts like TIDES. ECHO expects to include nearly 50,000 children and families from forty-four states to address five important child health issues such as asthma, neurodevelopment, obesity, airway health, and birth outcomes. ECHO will become the largest study to follow children from birth to later childhood ever conducted in the United States. To see how participants contribute to ECHO science and for ECHO-wide summaries and publications, visit the ECHO Program website.

Summer 2018 Update

We have seen almost 1/2 of our eligible families for the 6-year old visits and it has been so exciting! (Note: If we haven’t yet seen you for your child’s visit, we look forward to being in contact soon.) We’ve heard lots of good things from moms and kids after attending their busy 6-year old visit. The kids like that there’s lots to do during the visit including things they may have never done before, such as spitting into a container (to be used for laboratory analyses) and trying to figure out complex puzzles. Kids have also enjoyed seeing how much they’ve grown! Despite the fun that the kids have during the visit, we acknowledge that taking the time and effort to come to TIDES visits can at times be an imposition to you and your family. We thank you for your continued support of this study, and the research findings that are being produced in partnership with you!

We are also excited to tell you that we will be at the Minnesota State Fair this summer surveying fair-goers to determine what people know (and don’t know) about phthalates, which will allow us to better target our distribution of TIDES data to impact not only other scientists, but also families just like yours and ours.

So once again, THANK YOU for your continued participation. We could not do this without you!

April 2017 Update

We have successfully completed the age 4 visits for TIDES families! We thank you all for your continued interest in this important study, which continues to focus on the potential impact of the environment on our children. We are so happy to have had more than 85% of the original TIDES families participate in our age 4 study visit!

The success of TIDES is because of your willingness to continue participation.  We have enjoyed seeing you and watching your children grow!  We are already planning the age 6 visits, which will begin in the fall of 2017 and are looking forward to seeing you again. If you are still interested in being part of TIDES but were unable to do so for the age 4 visit, you still have an opportunity to contribute. Thank you all for your support and participation in TIDES!

Learn More about TIDES!

ECHO Study: Examining Characteristics Associated with Opioid Use During Pregnancy

Exposure to Chemicals in Many Plastics Linked to Language Delay in Toddlers – UMN School of Public Health

Study: Chemical in plastic linked to language delay in toddlers – Kare11 News

The Chemicals in Your Mac and Cheese – New York Times

TIDES is funded by:

NIH/NIEHS 2R01ES025169
NIH/NIEHS 5R01ES025169
NIH/OD 1UH3OD023305
NIH/OD 1UH3OD023271