Webinar series: Improving Children’s Health through Federal Collaboration

2nd Thursday of every month from 2PM to 3:30PM MST

image of a child smiling
On this page:
The Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8, and the Health Resources and Services Administration, Region VIII, have organized, in collaboration with other Federal partners, a one-year-long webinar series titled Improving Children’s Health through Federal Collaboration. Children, by their very nature, deserve our focused attention and care especially because:
  • Their bodily systems are still developing
  • They eat more, drink more, and breathe more in proportion to their body size
  • Their behavior patterns increase their exposure to environmental hazards.
image of a child smiling
Protecting the health of children where they live, learn and play is fundamental to making the world a better place for future generations. The purpose of this webinar series is to encourage coordination, collaboration and information sharing across government agencies and organizations, health care providers, educators, and the general public in addressing children’s health issues.
Please save these dates and join us for the following FREE webinars. Also find descriptions about each webinar below.

image of a child smiling

Descriptions of each webinar

November 10 – Children Grow Best in Healthy Environments
In celebration of Children’s Health Month, this first session will present an overview of children's special vulnerabilities to environmental exposures; prenatal developmental windows of susceptibility; common children's environmental hazards such as air quality, asthma triggers, lead, asbestos and pesticide exposure; and, resources to help you protect children from these exposures.
December 8 – Pediatric Environmental Health Resources for Community Health Professionals
This session will discuss resources and strategies for assisting primary care providers and other community health workers in addressing common pediatric environmental health issues. Topics will include taking an environmental exposure history; pediatric environmental health case studies; and how to access free medical consultation and training through the Rocky Mountain Region Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit.
January 12 – Coordinated School Health: Clean, Green and Healthy Schools
School health programs are often a result of a “patchwork” of policies and programs with differing standards, requirements, and populations to be served. In addition, these programs are managed by professionals from multiple disciplines: education, nursing, social work, psychology, nutrition, and school administration, each bringing different expertise, training, and approaches. This session will explore how Federal, State and local agencies are working together to coordinate the various aspects of school health in order to eliminate gaps, reduce duplication of efforts, and leverage limited resources.
February 9 – Obesity Prevention
Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. The numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40% of the children are overweight or obese. If we don't solve this problem, one third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. This session will highlight Let’s Move!, the First Lady’s initiative dedicated to solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation as well as HRSA’s Healthy Weight Collaborative, and how states are working to impact childhood obesity through their Title V Block Grants.
March 8 – Affordable Care Act
This Session will include an overview of the new health reform law, the Affordable Care Act, and highlight those sections of the law that are especially helpful for children and families. The Affordable Care Act Increases access to necessary preventative services to help keep children and families healthy. This session will describe the new protections for health insurance consumers, and provisions to lower costs and improve care.

April 12 – Communities Working Together for Better Health
This session will highlight projects where communities are working collaboratively with local, state and federal stakeholders to create healthier environments where children can live, learn and play. These community-based projects and programs focus on geographically, politically, demographically, and/or socially defined areas. Learn about resources available for project assistance, funding, outreach, training, education, and capacity-building.
May 10 – Successful Asthma Management
May is Asthma Awareness Month! Asthma affects almost 25 million people of all ages and races. Despite this prevalence, public awareness of common asthma triggers and effective asthma management strategies remains limited. Join us to learn the latest in successful asthma management including identifying warning signs of an attack, avoiding triggers, asthma clinical guidelines and successful intervention strategies.
June 14 – Healthy Homes
This session will highlight how Federal agencies are working in a coordinated fashion to address multiple housing-related hazards and childhood diseases. The Presentation will also include tools and resources available for communities to create neighborhoods and outdoor spaces that promote public health and encourage healthy lifestyles for all ages.
July – No Webinar This Month
August 9 – Children’s Environmental Health Research
The Centers for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research ("Children's Centers") were established to explore ways to reduce children's health risks from environmental factors. The long-range goals of the Centers include understanding how environmental factors affect children's health, and promoting translation of basic research findings into intervention and prevention methods to prevent adverse health outcomes. This session will share latest research and discuss how the Centers foster research collaborations among basic, clinical, and behavioral scientists with participation from local communities.
September 13 – National Children’s Study
This session will provide an update on The National Children’s Study, the largest long-term study of children’s health ever conducted in the United States. The study plans to follow 100,000 children from before birth to age 21 to learn how the environment influences their health, development, and quality of life. Environment is broadly defined to include factors such as air, water, diet, sound, family dynamics, community and cultural influences, and genetics on the growth, development, and health of children across the United States.


Mary Oliver to deliver Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture December 16, 2011

The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education at Florida Gulf Coast University is excited to announce that its Annual Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture Weekend will be held Feb. 17-18, 2012. This year's guest lecturer will be the celebrated winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Lannan Foundation Literary Award, and the National Book Award for poetry- Mary Oliver.

The Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture is a signature event of the Center that brings public intellectuals to discuss issues such as sustainability, ethics, democracy, and literature. This year's Lecture will be a poetry reading with commentary, and will be held at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17 at Saint Michael and All Angels Church on Sanibel Island.

Mary Oliver is widely recognized for her lyrical poems that use vivid imagery to portray the natural world. The Center has chosen Mary Oliver for this year's Lecture because her poetry renders the gravity, grace, and beauty of the ordinary world and inspires a universal sense of wonder. Much like Rachel Carson's unparalleled contributions to human understanding of our environment, Mary Oliver's work has inspired deep appreciation for the wildness and beauty of the nature.

The Eighth Annual Fundraising Celebration will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 18 at the Sanibel Island beachfront home of Peter and Mallory Haffenreffer. This is the major fundraising event for the Center and helps to further its sustainability initiatives locally and globally.

The lecture will be free and open to the public. Seats will be reserved for contributors to the Eighth Annual Fundraising Celebration. Invitations to the Lecture and Fundraising Celebration will be mailed out in early January to the Center's mailing list. Contact the Center by email at cese@fgcu.edu or by phone at 239-590-7166 if you would like to be added to the mailing list.


Effective Policies to Reduce Exposures to Pesticides in Schools

The Grassfed Primer

Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) is a national nonprofit organization that audits, certifies and supports farmers raising their animals according to the highest welfare standards, outdoors on pasture or range.

We published The Grassfed Primer to help people to identify and purchase meat and dairy products from real grassfed farms. We hope that it helps to explain the problems with feedlot farming systems, but also the significant solutions that real grassfed farming can offer, and why it is important to choose a "grassfed" label that really means what it says.

Find out more about real grassfed farming and Animal Welfare Approved: download The Grassfed Primer here.

Called a “badge of honor for farmers” and the “gold standard,” AWA has come to be the most highly regarded food label when it comes to animal welfare, pasture-based farming and sustainability.

All AWA standards, policies and procedures are available on the AWA website, making it one of the most transparent certifications available.

AWA’s online directory of farms, restaurants and products enables the public to search for AWA farms, restaurants and products by zipcode, keywords, products and type of establishment.

Visit www.AnimalWelfareApproved.org/product-search

Animal Welfare Approved
1007 Queen Street | Alexandria | VA 22314
(800) 373-8806
EPA Must Improve Oversight of State Enforcement   December 15 2011


On December 9, 2011, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of the Inspector General issues a report entitled EPA Must Improve Oversight of State Enforcement.

The EPA Office of Inspector General evaluated the enforcement in 50 states and 10 EPA regions of three environmental enforcement programs: Clean Water Act, NPDES program, Clean Air Act Title V program and the RCRA Subtitle C program over the time period, fiscal year 2003 through 2009. The findings contained in the report include:

"EPA does not administer a consistent national enforcement program."

"State enforcement programs frequently do not meet national goals."

"States do not always take necessary enforcement actions."

"State enforcement programs are under performing."

"EPA's enforcement programs cannot assure equal and sufficient protection of human health and the environment to all U.S. citizens."

Louisiana Enforcement

According to the Office of Inspector General's report, from Fiscal Year 2003 through Fiscal Year 2009, Louisiana had the lowest enforcement activity level of all of the Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 states. EPA Region 6 consist of the states of Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

Louisiana Ranked
  • in the lower half of states in the US for Clean Water Act enforcement
  • in the lower quartile of states in the US for Clean Air Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (regulation of Hazardous Waste) enforcement

Louisiana was one of five states that emerged as persistently underperforming over the analysis period.

Based on interviews with officials from the state of Louisiana and EPA Region 6, as well as external personnel, Louisiana attributed their poor enforcement performance to:
  • Lack of resources
  • Natural disasters
  • A culture in which the state agency is expected to protect industry.

The first major disaster to impact Louisiana during the review time frame (Fiscal Year 2003 through 2009) occurred in August 2005, Hurricane Katrina.

Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality personnel indicated the agency could not enforce because it was overwhelmed by a natural disaster.

EPA's goal establishes that 100% of major emitting facilities and large quantity waste generation facilities be inspected every two years (Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, RCRA).

Louisiana Clean Water Act Enforcement 
Only 9% of facilities inspected
Significant Non Compliance identified 3%
22% of final enforcement actions contained penalties

Louisiana Clean Air Act Enforcement 
Only 31% of facilities inspected
Significant Non Compliance identified 15%
18% of final enforcement actions contained penalties

Louisiana RCRA Enforcement 
Only 2% of facilities inspected
Significant Non Compliance identified 2%
8% of final enforcement actions contained penalties

In 2001, citizen's organizations filed a petition with EPA to withdraw the Louisiana Clean Water Act NPDES program authority. The petition was based on many failures of the program including the lack of timely review of permit applications and the lack of adequate enforcement. Louisiana Environmental Action Network was one of the citizens organizations that filed the petition.

In addition citizens also filed petitions with EPA to withdraw the Clean Air Act and RCRA delegated programs from the state of Louisiana. Louisiana Environmental Action Network was one of the Citizens organizations involved in these two petitions.

LEAN was involved extensively in meetings with EPA and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality concerning the petitions to withdraw the EPA delegated programs from the state of Louisiana.

Office of Inspector General Recommendations:

Establish clear and consistent national enforcement benchmarks so that EPA's enforcement expectations are clear and consistent for state governments and the regulated community.

Establish a clear and credible escalation policy for EPA intervention in states, that provides steps that EPA will take when states do not act to ensure that the CAA, CWA and RCRA are enforced.

Establish procedures to reallocate enforcement resources to intervene decisively when appropriate under its escalation policy.

Develop a state performance scorecard to publicly track state enforcement activities and results from year to year.

The full report can be downloaded from this link:


"Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities"

Two decades ago, Democrats and Republicans together sought to protect Americans from nearly 200 dangerous chemicals in the air they breathe. That goal remains unfulfilled.

Today, hundreds of communities are still exposed to the pollutants, which can cause cancer, birth defects and other serious health issues. A secret government 'watch list' underscores how much government knows about the threat – and how little it has done to address it.



DRILLING DOWN: Learning Too Late of Perils in Gas Well Leases

From The New York Times:  DRILLING DOWN: Learning Too Late of Perils in Gas Well Leases
Americans have signed millions of leases allowing oil and gas companies to drill on their land, but some landowners are finding out the hard way what their contracts actually say.  http://nyti.ms/rUyQBM
Environmental Threats to Health: An Ecological Approach Throughout the Lifespan
October 24, 2011
Ted Schettler, Science Director
Watch the talk here.

Emilio F. Moran Lecture 12/8/2011

Pioneering anthropologist is 2011 Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecturer

Michigan State University  12/02/2011 | Press release wired by noodls on 12/01/2011 15:39

Contact: Sue Nichols, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Office: (517) 432-0206,
Emilio F. Moran, an ecological/environmental anthropologist, will deliver the 2011 Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture on Dec. 8 in the Lincoln Room of the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center on the Michigan State University campus.

As an anthropologist, Moran's research focuses on how people and the environment interact in complex and sometimes unanticipated ways. His more than 30 years of scholarly study of that interaction have put him at the forefront of a new interdisciplinary field called environmental anthropology.

Moran is one of only a few anthropologists worldwide to study the importance of the human dimensions of global environmental change. He also is recognized as one of the first social scientists to integrate geographic information systems into anthropological research. Moran is the Rudy Professor of Anthropology and Distinguished Professor and serves as director of the Anthropological Center for Training and Research on Global Environmental Change at Indiana University.

Moran also will receive an honorary degree while on campus.

Moran's lecture "Rethinking Human-Environment Interactions" is presented by the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and supported by the National Science Foundation; the MSU offices of the President, Provost and Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies; the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; and MSU AgBioResearch.

The Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture Series is a platform for prominent scientists and scholars to share their ideas about global challenges and opportunities with MSU students, faculty, staff and the general public.



Cleanup crews attack toxic goo in South Platte north of Denver. Federal environmental officials have taken charge of a continuing toxic leak into Sand Creek and the South Platte River north of downtown Denver, trying to stop oily black goo from fouling northeastern Colorado's primary source of water. Denver Post, Colorado.

Families make legal appeal to keep water in Pennsylvania town. Lawyers for Dimock Twp. families with methane-tainted well water have asked a judge to stay a decision allowing deliveries of replacement fresh water by a natural gas drilling company deemed responsible for the contamination to end today. Scranton Times-Tribune, Pennsylvania.



Linda Lear on Sierra Club Radio

This week on Sierra Club Radio  - January 22, 2011

1) Annie Spiegelman, the author of Talking Dirt: The Dirt Diva's Down-to-Earth Guide to Organic Gardening

2) Linda Lear, author of the biography Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature, talks with us about Rachel Carson's work, the upcoming 50th anniversary of the publication of Silent Spring, and Carson's role as an iconic figure of the environmental movement. 


American Public Health Association: 100 Year Short Film


Liuna Mid-Atlantic Publishes Revealing Report, "TOXIC EXPOSURE"

This report, TOXIC EXPOSURE, is the culmination of a yearlong undercover investigation into the practices of the asbestos abatement industry in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. Ernest Ojito, a college student, worked undercover for a year as an employee of half a dozen contractors that provide asbestos abatement services. What he found was an industry that routinely violates the law and poisons its employees, and a regulatory regime that utterly fails to protect these workers at the most basic level.


NEW! Webinar Series: Improving Children's Health
Multiple dates: Dec 8th, Jan 12, Fe 9th, Mar 8th, Apr 12th, May 10th, June 14th, Aug 9th, Sep 13th
The Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8, and the Health Resources and Services Administration, Region VIII, have organized, in collaboration with other Federal partners, a one-year-long webinar series titled Improving Children's Health through Federal Collaboration.
  • November 10, 2011 - Children Grow Best in Healthy Environments 
  • December 8, 2011 - Pediatric Environmental Health Resources for Community Health Professionals
  • January 12, 2012 - Coordinated School Health: Clean, Green and Healthy Schools
  • February 9, 2012 - Obesity Prevention
  • March 8, 2012 - Affordable Care Act
  • April 12, 2012 - Communities Working Together for Better Health
  • May 10, 2012 - Successful Asthma Management
  • June 14, 2012 - Healthy Homes
  • July - No Webinar This Month
  • August 9, 2012 - Children's Environmental Health Research
  • September 13, 2012 - National Children's Study
For additional information, please click here.


The United Nations estimates that each one of us uses nearly 140 kilograms of plastic each year. At least 6.4 million metric tons of that plastic has ended up in the oceans. Environmental activist Captain Charles Moore has found that in some areas, plastic outweighs zooplankton ...


2011 Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecturer

Emilio F. Moran, a ground-breaking ecological/environmental anthropologist will deliver the 2011 Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture on Dec. 8 in the Lincoln Room of the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center on the Michigan State University campus.

As an anthropologist, Moran’s research focuses on how people and the environment interact in complex and sometimes unanticipated ways. His more than 30 years of scholarly study of that interaction have put him at the forefront of a new interdisciplinary field: environmental anthropology. Moran is one of only a few anthropologists worldwide to study the importance of the human dimensions of global environmental change. He also is recognized as one of the first social scientists to integrate geographic information systems into anthropological research. Moran is the Rudy Professor of Anthropology and Distinguished Professor and serves as director of the Anthropological Center for Training and Research on Global Environmental Change at Indiana University.

"Dr. Moran is one of the world's leading scholars on human-environment interactions," said Jianguo "Jack" Liu, MSU University Distinguished Professor of fisheries and wildlife, who holds the Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability. He also is director of the MSU Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability. "Rachel Carson would be pleased that Dr. Moran was invited to present the 2011 Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture."

Moran also will receive an honorary degree while on campus.

Moran’s lecture “Rethinking Human-Environment Interactions” is presented by the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and supported by the National Science Foundation; the MSU offices of the President, Provost and Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies; the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; and MSU AgBioResearch.

The lecture, which is open to the public, will begin at 3:30 p.m. and be followed by a reception.

The Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture Series is a platform for prominent scientists and scholars to share their ideas about global challenges and opportunities with MSU students, faculty, staff and the general public. Previous speakers have included Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in economic sciences; William Clark, Harvey Brooks Professor of International Science, Public Policy and Human Development at Harvard University; Ruth DeFries, Denning Professor of Sustainable Development at Columbia University; Simon Levin, Moffett Professor of Biology at Princeton University; Billie Lee Turner II, Gilbert F. White Professor of Environment and Society at Arizona State University; and Peter Raven, president of the Missouri Botanical Garden.


APHA Passes Resolution on PVC and Vulnerable Populations

This week at the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) annual public meeting, the APHA passed a major policy that supports phasing out toxic PVC plastic in schools, daycare centers, hospitals, public housing and other facilities with vulnerable populations. You can read the APHA’s policy statement here.

Stephen Lester from Center for Health, Environment and Justice introduced the resolution, with great support from colleagues in the APHA Environment and Occupational Health Sections.

This resolution by one of the largest association of health professionals in the United States is an important new voice calling for government agencies to take action to address the risks posed by PVC, and endocrine disrupting chemicals like phthalates and dioxin released by vinyl. It comes at a time when a growing chorus of leading businesses like Google and healthcare institutions are supporting efforts to reduce and phase out the use of PVC.

Read the Center for Health, Environment and Justice press release on the resolution's passage here

This information is also now posted on the HCWH website, .

Eileen Secrest
Director of Communications
Health Care Without Harm
Note New Phone:   540-479-0168
follow HCWH at www.Twitter.com/hcwithoutharm


BPA—another inconvenient truth by Claire McCarthy on October 25, 2011

Once upon a time, more than a hundred years ago, a scientist in Germany created a chemical called Bisphenol-A, or BPA.

Around thirty years later, other scientists discovered that BPA was similar to estrogen, the main female hormone of the reproductive system. They thought of using BPA as a synthetic estrogen. But there were better synthetic estrogens, so they didn’t.

Then, in the 1940’s and 50’s, yet other scientists discovered that BPA was a useful chemical after all. They found that it could be used to make all sorts of things, including plastic linings for cans and polycarbonate plastic. Polycarbonate plastic was particularly useful, because it is clear and shatterproof—making it perfect, for example, for baby bottles. Soon BPA was being used in hundreds of different products, from baby and water bottles to bike helmets to dental sealants and medical equipment.

Continue at: 


EPA: California waters show widespread pollution. Those bracing dips in the local lake or river may not be as healthy as they were cracked up to be judging by a new list of polluted waterways released last week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The study shows a 170 percent increase in the number of waterways showing toxicity in 2010 compared with 2006. San Francisco Chronicle, California.

Municipal wastewater spreads antibiotic resistance. When wastewater treatment plants discharge treated water into rivers and lakes, they can also pass along antibiotic-resistant bacteria and their resistance genes, a new study finds. If other bacteria in the environment snag these genes, municipal wastewater could contribute to the growth of antibiotic resistance worldwide, the researchers say. Chemical & Engineering News


In her book, Silent Spring, Rachel Carson wrote about a chain of events that ended in tragedy for robins. It all started when people wanted to protect American elm trees from a deadly disease. They sprayed the elm trees with an insecticide that contained a powerful chemical called DDT. The chemical pesticides ended up killing backyard robins, but long after the elm trees were sprayed. How did this happen?

Read about Carson's courage to voice her concerns.  A Food Chain Mystery: From Elm Leaves to a Silent Spring Introduction | Article | Journal Page


Beyond Pesticides’ 30th Anniversary Reception and Film Screening

30 years, 1981-2011Thursday, October 27, 2011 @ 6:30 pm
Busboys & Poets, Washington, DC

Beyond Pesticides is celebrating 30 years of protecting health and the environment through science, policy and grassroots action. Please join us for a reception with live music and organic food and drinks, then stay for a  screening of the award-winning film Vanishing of the Bees. Featured beekeeper David Hackenberg, who first discovered colony collapse disorder (CCD), will be with us to introduce the film.
In recognition of our 30th anniversary and the important work that needs to be done to protect health and the environment --through the restriction of pesticides and the adoption of organic practices and policies-- please plan to join us for this event and consider a donation between $30 and $3000. Donate and RSVP.
About the Film
Honey bees have been mysteriously disappearing across the planet, literally vanishing from their hives. Known as colony collapse disorder, this crisis is explored in Vanishing of the Bees. The film takes a piercing investigative look at the economic, political and ecological implications of the worldwide disappearance of honey bees and empowers the audience to fight back.
Celebrate 30 Years


Districts looking for water in far-away places. First it was desalinating ocean water. Then it was recycling sewage water. Now water districts desperate to diversify their supplies in the face of ever-longer droughts are pursuing water purchases from hundreds of miles away as insurance against shortages. Whittier Daily News, California.


'Emerging contaminants of concern' detected throughout Narragansett Bay watershed
Source: University of Rhode Island, September 21, 2011

A group of hazardous chemical compounds that are common in industrial processes and personal care products but which are not typically monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency have been detected throughout the Narragansett Bay watershed, according to a URI researcher.

Rainer Lohmann, associate professor of chemical oceanography, and graduate student Victoria Sacks, with the help of 40 volunteers, tested for the presence of the chemicals in 27 locations. The compounds were found at every site.

"Being exposed to these compounds is the hidden cost of our lifestyle," said Lohmann. "It's frustrating that as we ban the use of some chemical compounds, industry is adding new ones that we don't know are any better."

Lohmann said the good news is that the chemicals were detected at extremely low levels.

"By themselves, none of these results makes me think that we shouldn't be swimming in the bay or eating fish caught there," he said. "But we only tested for three compounds that might be of concern, and we know there are hundreds more out there. The totality of all those compounds together is what may be worrisome."

The three compounds the researchers measured, which scientists refer to as "emerging contaminants of concern," are: triclosans, antibacterial agents found in many personal care products and which have been identified as posing risks to humans and the environment; alkylphenols, widely used as detergents and known to disrupt the reproductive system; and PBDEs, industrial products used as flame retardants on a wide variety of consumer products. PBDEs have been banned because they cause long-term adverse effects in humans and wildlife.

PBDEs, methyltriclosan and triclosan were found in highest concentrations in the Blackstone River, Woonasquatucket River and in upper Narragansett Bay, while some detergents were detected at similar levels at nearly every site.

"Many of the trends in society - from early puberty changes to some diseases - may be caused by chemical exposures," said Lohmann. "They trigger hormones and disrupt the normal functioning of the body. We have no resistance against them."


Chemicals, Obesity and Diabetes: How Science Leads Us To Action

Friday, October 14, Colby College in Maine

Registration is open for a unique, one-day conference organized by the Environmental Health Strategy Center and Colby. This is your chance to learn about the latest, cutting-edge scientific research linking chemicals to obesity and diabetes, and discuss policy implications and strategies.

The science will be presented by the leading national experts in this area. Both Maine and national public policy and public health experts will share their insights and lead discussion about policy strategies. Workshops will offer the opportunity to delve more deeply into the science, policy solutions, impacts on vulnerable populations, and how to build this new information into public health and medical work. More information appears below at the linked pages.

Conference info: https://www.thedatabank.com/dpg/338/mtgdetail.asp?formid=meet&caleventid=11128
Registration: https://www.colby.edu/administration_cs/special_programs/goldfarb-event-registration.cfm

Please register now to attend if you want a space (the event will sell out), and feel free to circulate the announcement by forwarding it widely.


Plastic Pollution Coalition

Plastic Pollution Coalition is a global alliance of individuals, organizations and businesses working together to stop plastic pollution and its toxic impacts on humans, animals and the environment. http://plasticpollutioncoalition.org

With its work, Plastic Pollution seeks to put plastic pollution at the forefront of global social, environmental and political discourse.

Plastic Pollution Coalition Strategic Goals

To achieve its mission, Plastic Pollution Coalition has defined the following strategic goals:
  • End the global dependence on disposable plastic, the primary source of plastic pollution;
  • Reduce the overall global plastic footprint for individuals, businesses and organizations;
Achieving these strategic goals requires collaboration on a global scale between individuals, organizations, businesses and policy-makers to raise awareness and improve understanding of the complex problem of plastic pollution; to create solutions; and to pursue these solutions relentlessly, with a sense of utmost urgency.

Plastic Pollution Coalition Core Initiatives 

Educate and inform. Elevate the discourse about plastic pollution to the forefront of the public attention; deliver access to information about all aspects of plastic pollution and their interconnections;

Connect globally. Connect all involved parties—local communities, environmental organizations, public health organizations, environmental justice organizations, individuals and businesses—to each other in their work to end plastic pollution;

Strategic Initiatives

(1) Encourage, inspire and support individuals, organizations and businesses to end their dependence on disposable plastic, and to reduce their plastic footprint;
(2) Encourage, inspire and support plastic product manufacturers to own the end of life of their products; to invest in truly biodegradable products; and to self-regulate the output of non-biodegradable matter;
(3) Encourage, inspire and support the creation of economic incentives for businesses willing to invest in plastic alternatives; legislation that curbs irresponsible proliferation of disposable plastic;
(4) Encourage, inspire and support international leaders to form global alliances against plastic pollution


What was in the World Trade Center plume? Ten years later, what exactly residents and rescue workers were exposed to remains at least a partial mystery. The question is: did all those toxicants – whether dust particles or air pollution – harm human health? Scientific American


Conserving and developing more sustainable systems is not boring or depriving -- it's actually engaging and innately satisfying. Questioning where things come from and how they're made helps us become deeper, holistic thinkers and will have a major impact on our children. If we truly change our ways we will not diminish or "lose" our lifestyle -- we will gain enormously. We'll lead more thoughtful and meaningful lives together. When people reflect on the highlights of a past year, they often mention a time they have slowed down and connected with family or friends, taking notice of something beautiful in nature. We can have lots more of this.


Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

 Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011 One of the All-TIME 100 Best Nonfiction Books

By Bryan Walsh. When Rachel Carson's Silent Spring was published in 1962, there was no Environmental Protection Agency, no Endangered Species Act, no Earth Day. Ecology was considered a second-class science, and most people thought of nature as something to defeat, not preserve. Corporations and governments alike had license to blanket the earth with toxic chemicals, all in the name of science and progress. And except for a few lone voices in the wilderness, we all thought this was normal. So much of that changed with Carson's book. The quietly relentless marine biologist showed conclusively that industrial chemicals were contaminating America — most notoriously the pesticide DDT. Carson's work would help lead to the ban of DDT in the U.S. as well as the creation of real legal protections for the environment. But its lasting impact was on the spirit of the American people: no longer would we passively accept being poisoned.

Read TIME's profile on Rachel Carson.   

Find this article at:


    LONDON (Reuters) - Mosquitoes can quickly develop resistance to insecticide-treated nets, a study from Senegal shows, raising fears that a leading method of preventing the disease may be less effective


    Ann Beyke as “Rachel Carson: A Chautauqua Performance”

    “One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?” Rachel Carson

    August 1, 2011 from 2pm to 3:30pm, Del Webb Alegria   http://dce.unm.edu/osher.htm 

    This lecture, FREE to Osher Members and residents of the Del Webb Community, will be held at Del Webb Alegria, in Bernalillo, NM 

    For more information visit http://dce.unm.edu/osher.htm or call Maralie W. BeLonge at (505) 277-6179.

    Rachel Carson was a marine biologist when few women dared even tread the water... Her lifelong love of nature and science led to research on how uncontrolled chemical use in our cities, towns and farming communities devastated wildlife and food sources. Silent Spring, her bestselling book on the topic, detailed this devastation and led to the eventual ban on the use of DDT in the United States. Carson’s work made environmentalism an integral part of our lives.

    The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is an active and self-motivated group of people age 50+ who share curiosity and a love of learning. Keep yourself updated on current Osher events by becoming a fan of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute on Face Book: http://www.facebook.com/UNMOSHER


    Quote of the Day
    "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." - Aldo Leopold

    Seen in Toxipedia Newsletter  8 1 2011


    Giant turtle found dead in New South Wales having swallowed over 300 bits of plastic. A giant sea turtle has been found dead after swallowing more than 300 bits of plastic. The helpless creature starved to death because its guts were clogged with debris including bags, lids, tape and fishing line. London Sun, United Kingdom.


    New Wave Of Compostable Products Creates Recycling Conundrum

    COMPOSTABLE. NOT RECYCLABLE. These types of utensils are made from plant materials, and should be recycled in industrial composters (they generally don't degrade in your backyard composter). (Jesse Costa/Here & Now)
    What happens when you mix up items that are supposed to be composted with your recycling, or trash? Are you doing the environment more harm or good. Check out our slideshow on new products on the market and the best way to dispose of them.


    The sneaky business of pesticides

    Pesticides to be stripped from Clean Water Act - Call your Senator!
    Last week we alerted readers to behind-the-scenes lobbying in Congress that would strip pesticide protections from our nation's stongest environmental laws. On Tuesday, June 21st, the Senate Agriculture Committee quietly approved legislation to exempt pesticide applications from permitting requirements under the Clean Water Act — with no notice, and no press.
    The bill, Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011 (H.R. 872) would reverse a 2009 court order requiring the permits as a part of the National Pollutant Discharge System (NPDES). Instead, pesticides would remain subject only to the much weaker statute under which most pesticides are regulated, the Federal Insecticide Fungicide Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). H.R. 872 has already passed in the House of Representatives.Read more »


    "Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts." -- Rachel Carson, May 27, 1907 - April 14, 1964, Published Silent Spring in 1962

    Don't Allow This to Be Another Silent Spring   OnEarth Magazine (blog) by Sigourney Weaver Rachel Carson has been on my mind lately. Maybe it's because we are approaching the 50th anniversary of the publication of Silent Spring. Maybe it's because I have been given the honor of receiving the Rachel Carson Award from ...  Read article: http://www.onearth.org/blog/dont-allow-this-to-be-another-silent-spring-tell-lawmakers-to-take-climate-action


    Environmental Health in Schools
    Tuesday May 10, 2011 2:00 p.m. Eastern / 11:00 a.m. Pacific time
    Free webcast hosted by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

    Jerome A. Paulson, MD, FAAP, associate professor of Pediatrics and Public Health at George Washington University, will discuss environmental health in schools. 

    Teachers and other adult staff are afforded protections from hazards by OSHA regulations, employment contracts, or occupational health services. But children who are more vulnerable to hazards than adults are not provided these protections. Major environmental problems include indoor air quality, lighting, pests and pesticides, heavy metals and chemical management issues, renovation of occupied buildings, noise, and cleaning processes and products. 

    Dr. Paulson will offer recommendations for dealing with data collection, federal actions, state and local actions, and for building the capacity of the Environmental Protection Agency and the CDC-funded Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSU) in responding to and evaluating risks to children's environmental health in schools.
    Click here to register


    EPA: Sense of Wonder Contest

    To honor the late preservationist and ecologist Rachel Carson, the EPA, Generations United, and the Rachel Carson Council, Inc., are holding a photo, essay, and poetry contest "that best expresses the Sense of Wonder that you feel for the sea, the night sky, forests, birds, wildlife, and all that is beautiful to your eyes." In her book The Sense of Wonder (written in the 1950s and published in a magazine in 1956), Carson used lyrical passages about the beauty of nature and the joy of helping children develop a sense of wonder and love of nature. Maximum award: publication on the websites of EPA Aging Initiative, Generations United, and Rachel Carson Council, Inc. Eligibility: entries must be joint projects involving a person under age 18 and a person age 50 or older. Deadline: June 10, 2011.


    Green Ribbon Schools

    April 26, 2011  U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announces plans to create a Green Ribbon Schools program that will be run by the U.S. Department of Education with the support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

    A Texas live oak, the official tree depicted on the Education Department's official seal was planted in the plaza at 400 Maryland Ave., S.W., facing the National Mall.

    Also attending
    • U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
    • Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson
    • White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley
    • Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, daughter of President Lyndon B. Johnson
    • Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig
    • American Forests CEO Scott Steen
    • Fifth grade students from D.C.'s Amidon Elementary School Knowles Elementary
    • Jośe Rodríguez (Teacher Ambassador from Cedar Park, Texas)
    The program will promote public schools that show exemplary efforts to:
    • raise environmental literacy, both inside and outside the classroom; 
    • reduce a school's environmental footprint by improving energy efficiency and resource use; and 
    • increase a school's environmental health.
    "At Earth Day Network, we are particularly excited to have collaborated with three key leaders in the Green Schools movement – the Campaign for Environmental Literacy, the National Wildlife Federation, and the U.S. Green Building Council – to make this initiative happen. This exciting new program has the potential to invigorate and empower schools nationwide for growing the 21st-century economy. By encouraging schools to apply for this award, powerful strides will be taken to ensure we meet our shared goal of greening America’s schools within a generation."  

    Read more:
    Official Tree 
    Arne Duncan


    Protecting NYC water


    New York City's is among the best urban water supplies in the world, and will remain so through summer 2011. After that, hydraulic fracturing ("hydrofracking") beneath the New York City aquifer may begin causing contamination of our City's water supply.

    Gas Drilling in NYC Watershed is an unacceptable risk to New York's water supply. Such drilling would wreak havoc on the environment, contaminating surface and groundwater supplies, and damaging the watershed.

    To alert more New York City residents to the dangers of contamination posed by hydraulic fracturing in the City's Marcellus Shale / Catskills aquifer, please help us post the following notices.

    The website is http://www.nyc-dep.org/spreadtheword.html
    DEP would like to send you information and updates regarding Natural Gas Drilling in the Watershed. To subscribe to periodic emails on this subject click here.


    Our 'Toxic' Love-Hate Relationship With Plastics

    Susan Freinkel notes that plastics have had enormously beneficial impacts — like making blood transfusions safe and common. But scientists are also now discovering that chemicals from plastics are leeching into our bloodstreams — and the effects of that are largely unknown.

    Our 'Toxic' Love-Hate Relationship With Plastics  Science writer Susan Freinkel chronicles the rise of plastic in consumer culture — and its effects on the environment and our health — in Plastic: A Toxic Love Story. Freinkel says plastics leach potentially harmful chemicals into our bloodstream — and that scientists are now figuring out what that does to our bodies. (NPR, FRESH AIR)

    Think Outside the Bottle/Take Back the Tap

    Take Back the Tap, April, 20
    Bottled Water Myths  http://www.storyofstuff.com/pdfs/storyofbottledwater_myth-v-reality.pdf

    Blue Gold, Maude Barlow
    Chris Jordan 's work attempts to place the impact of consumerism in perspective. For his latest project he traveled to the Midway Islands, near the heart of the Pacific Trash Gyre , to photograph the decomposed bodies of chicks that have been fed plastic litter by confused parents. http://www.chrisjordan.com/gallery/midway/#CF000313%2018x24

    Reese Halter |  Calgary Herald |  01.25.2009



    High levels of toxic lead found in air outside Chicago school. Residents in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood complained for years about metallic-tasting smoke rolling down their narrow streets but had little evidence it was harmful. Now they have proof. Chicago Tribune, Illinois.