Beyond Pesticides honors Theo Colborn

In Remembrance: Theo Colborn, 1927-2014 
Beyond Pesticides is sad to say goodbye to a dear friend and colleague, Theo Colborn, who at the age of 87, passed away on Sunday, December 14 at home surrounded by her family. www.beyondpesticides.org

"Photo: Theo Colborn receives the Dragonfly Award from author and scientist Sandra Steingraber at Beyond Pesticides’ 25th Gala in Washington, DC in 2006."  "Upon accepting the award, she said to those who chose her as the recipient that she would do her best not to let them down, and she hasn’t.


CHEJ has donated many of its publications, documents and files generated over the past 30 years to Tufts University in Medford, MA. 

These historical records are now accessible through the Tufts University Digital Library, the home to CHEJ’s archival records dating back to 1981 when the organization was founded. Included are CHEJ publications such Everyone’s Backyard, Environmental Health Monthly, Action Line and numerous guidebooks and fact-packs; community newsletters; newspaper clippings; general office files; files from our Grassroots Conventions; special projects files; mini-grant files; and the personal files of Lois Gibbs, CHEJ executive Director and Stephen Lester, CHEJ’s Science Director. Many issues of Everyone’s Backyard are available online already here.

Also included in the archives are the personal files and documents related to Lois’ work at Love Canal in Niagara Falls, NY, including files maintained by the Love Canal Homeowners Association. 

At some time all of Lois’ and Stephen’s files and documents related to their work at Love Canal will be donated to these archives.

These files and documents provide a historical view of CHEJ’s pioneering work to organize grassroots communities in their fight for Environmental Justice. The research guide for CHEJ's records can be found here.


Honoring Silent Spring Institute
Raising Awareness of Breast Cancer PREVENTION
Letter to the NewtonTAB September 22, 2014

Ellie Goldberg, Newton, MA
“For those in whom cancer is already a hidden or visible presence, efforts to find cures must of course continue. But for those not yet touched by the disease and certainly for the generations as yet unborn, prevention is the imperative need.”
– Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Rachel Carson Was Right. In her book, Silent Spring (1962), Carson alerted the world to the hazards of pesticides and synthetic chemicals. Rachel Carson taught us that our health is intimately connected to the health of our environment and that “we tolerate cancer causing agents in our environment at our peril.” Carson inspired citizens around the world to get involved in both personal and public policy changes to protect our water, food and air from contamination.

Twenty years ago, as the incidence of breast cancer continued to rise, many people in Massachusetts were frustrated that the breast cancer research establishment focused so heavily on treatment and ignored the risks associated with toxic chemicals in our water, air, food and the products we use everyday.

In response, an alliance of scientists and activists founded Silent Spring Institute (SSI) to focus research on prevention. The goal was to protect and improve women’s health by identifying the links between the environment and women’s health, especially breast cancer.

In 2014, Silent Spring Institute celebrates its twentieth anniversary. SSI is now a national leader in cutting edge research into preventable causes of breast cancer. SSI’s scientists influence our national cancer research and public policy agenda. See details of SSI’s pioneering work at http://www.silentspring.org/our-research.

As a proud board member of Newton’s Silent Spring Institute, I invite you to join us at SSI’s 20th Anniversary Dinner, October 20 at the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge. Special guests will be Pulitzer Prize-winning NYTimes journalist Nicholas Kristof and Florence Williams, author of Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History. Ellen Parker, Co-founder and former Board Chair of Silent Spring Institute, will receive the annual Rachel Carson Award.

I know that others share my vision that true prevention is the most effective and ethical way to turn the tide of the cancer epidemic. Supporting Silent Spring Institute’s pioneering research to uncover—and break—the environmental links to breast cancer is our most genuine source of hope.



Keeping Rachel Carson's Legacy Alive
May 27, 2014. Green Decade Newton is joined by the City of Newton in recognizing Rachel Carson, a ​​scientist and celebrated author​, for her outstanding, dedicated and selfless service to nature, our environment and public health.

Carson’s 1962 book, Silent Spring, alerted the world to the hazards of pesticides and ​inspired ​the creation of the U.S. EPA, the U.S. ban on DDT,  the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act.  2014 is the 50th anniversary of Carson's death from breast cancer ​April 14, 1964.

Green Decade Newton’s Committee for Alternatives to Pesticides (GreenCAP) promotes the annual recognition of Rachel Carson’s legacy on her birthday, May 27. 

GreenCAP was organized by a group of concerned Green Decade members in 1994 after Dr. Rita Arditti's presentation about cancer as an environmental disease.​ ​

Dr. ​Arditti, a biologist, educator and activist, was a co-founder of the Women’s Community Cancer Project in 1989. Their slogan was “Rachel Carson Was Right.”  (Dr. Arditti died of breast cancer on Christmas Day, 2009.)

At a Carson ​C​entennial event at Newton Free Library in 2007, Dr. Arditti emphasized Carson’s message “Prevention is the Imperative” and that Silent Spring is as current today as it was in 1962.

Green Decade Newton’s programs are designed to provide education and empower citizens to take personal and civic action​ for energy efficiency, pollution prevention, and conservation of vital resources.

For more information visit the Green Decade table at Newton’s Farmer’s Market and go to greendecade.org. Find resources such as Pest Control the Old Way the BEST Way (pdf) and Spring Safety Tips (pdf).
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(May 27, 1907 – April 14,1964) 

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Commonwealth of Massachusetts City of Newton

May 27, 2014.  The City of Newton proudly awards this Certificate of Commendation in honor of Rachel Carson in recognition of her outstanding, dedicated and selfless service to nature, our environment and public health.  Rachel Carson taught us that our health is intimately connected to the heath of our environment, and that safeguarding our ecosystem protects our health and the environmental resources on which all life depends. City of Newton is proud to join Green Decade in honoring the legacy of Rachel Carson.



How One Brave Woman Sparked the Environmental Movement
Environmentalist David Suzuki recently spoke with Bill about the lasting influence of the late biologist Rachel Carson. Although Suzuki never met Carson, her seminal 1962 book Silent Spring about the effects of pesticides on the environment, had a major impact on his work.
 “Rachel Carson’s book was the first big document to say, ‘Hey, wait a minute guys, there are effects or costs that are associated with this huge technology. Guess what, it’s affecting fish and birds and human beings,’” Suzuki says...

Read and Watch: http://billmoyers.com/2014/05/15/how-one-brave-woman-sparked-the-environmental-movement/


Remembering Rachel Carson who died fifty years ago, April 14, 1964.  In her book Silent Spring (1962) she wrote, "It would be unrealistic to suppose that all chemical carcinogens can or will be eliminated from the modern world. But a very large proportion are by no means necessities of life. By their elimination the total load of carcinogens would be enormously lightened, and the threat that one in every four will develop cancer would at least be greatly mitigated. The most determined effort should be made to eliminate those carcinogens that now contaminate our food, our water supplies, and our atmosphere, because these provide the most dangerous type of contact -- minute exposures, repeated over and over throughout the years.

... For those in whom cancer is already a hidden or a visible presence, efforts to find cures must of course continue. But for those not yet touched by the disease and certainly for the generations as yet unborn, prevention is the imperative need. (Silent Spring, Chapter 14, One in Four)

Life of Rachel Carson, founder of contemporary environmental movement, author of Silent Spring, advocate of nature and environmental ethics, against the misuse of chemical pesticides,breast cancer survivor and best selling nature writer, marine biologist and literary celebrity.


Commitment to Protect Children's Health from Environmental Hazards ("Jerusalem Statement"), International Conference on Children's Health and Environment, 20-22 November 2013  

Jerusalem Statement Commitment to Protect Children's Health from Environmental Hazards
We, participants in the International Conference on Children’s Health and Environment, have come together in Jerusalem, the city of belief for so many people in the world, on 20-22 November 2013 to commit ourselves to work jointly towards the protection of children's health and safety from environmental risks. These risks may result from exposures that occur before conception, in the womb, during birth and thereafter in the cradle, the home, the school, the wider community, and for millions, from child labour. This Statement builds on previous statements asserting the intrinsic, natural moral rights of children, including the World Health Organization Alma Ata "Health for All" Declaration (1978) to protect and promote the health of all people, and the United Nations' Convention of the Rights of the Child signed on 20 November 1989.
In many parts of the world unacceptable dangers to children have occurred from war, child labour, slavery, trafficking, sexual exploitation, terror, torture, genocide, execution, and massive destruction of habitat.
These dangers result from human choice and bystander indifference and are crimes against humanity; That most diseases in children are not inborn, but linked to environmental exposures from waterborne, airborne, foodborne, vector-borne, and physical agents, many from invisible natural or man-made sources;
That children are most often more vulnerable to such exposures than adults, with the most critical effects on fetuses and babies;
That the risks come not only from acute high exposures, but from chronic low level exposures to lead, pesticides, heavy metals, solvents, and radiation —all too often at levels well below regulatory thresholds; Such exposures impair health, growth and lifetime development and body systems function;
That environmental factors acting in early life have consequences that become manifest as an altered disease risk in later life. Babies receive from their mother a forecast of the environment they will encounter after birth and modify their metabolism, whole body physiology, and growth trajectory to maximize postnatal survival.
If environmental exposure after birth is not the same as the one encountered prenatally, this may lead to epigenetic mis-programming, leading to developmental disorders or diseases;
That as emerging countries rapidly industrialize, children are being exposed to hazardous substances at levels now disappearing in richer countries; That not only in developing, but also in developed countries hazardous exposures among children remain;
That primary prevention is a crucial, cost effective and a key strategy for protecting children from adverse effects at all stages of their lifecycle;
That there is a need to evaluate effects in children of new emerging environmental health risks, such as exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals and other agents, to compounds related to nanotechnology; but precautionary strategies to reduce these exposures need not await complete answers from research;
That protecting the integrity of the life-sustaining systems of Planet Earth is essential to a sustainable strategy of protection and promotion of children's health;
That countermeasures against global climate change and loss of biodiversity are essential to sustainable strategies for promoting children's health and environment.

That children are uniquely vulnerable to the effects of many chemical, biological and physical agents, as well as mental stressors in the social environment.
Children should be protected from injury, poisoning, stress and hazards in the environments where they are born, live, learn, play, and grow;
That in many regions of the world children’s environmental health hazards have been greatly aggravated by war and conflict, incitement to hate, repression, and poverty;
That all children have the right to safe, clean and supportive environments that ensure their survival, growth, development, healthy life and well-being;
That there is a moral and ethical responsibility of decision-makers to protect this right—everywhere, but especially in high threat situations such as war, slavery and child labour.
That the recognition of the forgoing right is essential as the world moves toward the adoption of sustainable development practices;
That the international community should be more active in addressing the outstanding issues of children’s environmental health throughout the world, especially in the cases requiring urgent measures for decontamination, remediation, and rehabilitation;
That children require easy and safe access to healthy outdoor spaces to play as essential to their health and development;
That it is the responsibility of communities, assisted by local, national and international authorities and policy makers, national and international organizations, and professionals dealing with health, environment, water, energy, transport, agriculture and education issues to act. Such actions include: promoting the recognition, assessment, prevention and mitigation of physical, chemical and biological hazards, stress and social hazards that threaten children's health and quality of life;
That it is the responsibility of those actors in children’s health to assess, promote, develop and monitor solutions to all hazards, especially ways to avoid hazards in the first place, and ensure precautionary strategies anticipating these risks;
That precautionary strategies need to weigh difficult choices between alternative strategies.

To require policy makers to recognize their moral and ethical responsibility to protect children from threats in high risk situations and in dangerous places everywhere, but especially in high threat situations such as war, genocide, slavery and child labour;
To increase the awareness of policy makers, governmental and non- governmental agencies, the industry and the public opinion, that investing in prevention of children's environmental and safety hazards is greatly cost- effective, convenient and beneficial for the society, economic growth and better future of mankind;
To provide children and their parents with knowledge about and access to safe water and air, adequate sanitation, safe food, appropriate shelter, and protection from injury;
To encourage industry, manufacturers, communication systems, planners, and agriculturists to ensure safe production, use and disposal of chemicals and other hazardous or potentially hazardous products or agents;
To promote substitution policies by phasing out hazardous chemicals in commonly-used consumer products;
To promote development and dissemination of international standards, criteria, and parameters of a safe environment;
To educate children’s health care providers to incorporate the pediatric environmental history taking as a part of routine practice;
To set an example by working to create more sustainable health care and research facilities;
To strengthen research to identify problem areas in children's environmental health and safety in order to set priorities and allocate resources; and evaluate the efficacy of interventions and their consequences;
To disseminate knowledge about the special vulnerability of children to our peers, colleagues, the community and policy makers;
To develop and/or strengthen partnerships at the local, regional, national and trans-national levels among pediatric, nursing, environmental and education associations and the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Health Organization and other governmental, nongovernmental and international organizations for the protection of children's environmental health and safety;
To promote new approaches for safe and effective therapeutic methods of medical interventions in cases of childhood poisoning by heavy metals, pesticides, and other agents, including targeting the biochemical sites of actions in addition to removing the agents from the body;
To advocate and take action in promotion and protection of children's health environment and safety at all levels, including political, administrative and community levels;
To explore the possibilities of new approaches to protect children more in decision making processes;
And to create mechanisms for rapid early response to emerging threats.
Jerusalem, November, 2013