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CHE E Newsletter
April 10, 2008


    •    CHE Partnership Calls
    •    Working and Regional Group Updates
    •    Tools, Announcements and Resources
    •    April Science News

Dear CHE Partners:

CHE's goal is to raise the level of environmental health science dialogue for the public and the health patient and health professional communities. To achieve that goal, we have adopted a strong commitment to "science and civility" -- to ensuring that Partners interact in ways that respect colleagues who may have different views. We call this "CHEtiquette."

Some CHE Working Group listservs are distribution-only, meaning that you can submit comments through the coordinator who sends you the announcements. Other CHE listservs, notably those for the Asthma, Cancer, EMF, Parkinson's Disease, and Science Working Groups, are open lists that Partners can post to directly. We encourage Partners to post with discretion, with a focus on sharing science and comments directly on the science.

CHE Partners come from academics, the medical community, government, voluntary health organizations, patient organizations, environmental health and justice constituencies and community organizations. With such a diverse network, what works best is to share important developments in environmental health sciences and related policy initiatives, major advocacy initiatives, and media coverage.

Thank you for keeping CHEtiquette in mind while participating in this critically important work. We are delighted to have you as part of the CHE community.

Michael Lerner
Founding CHE Partner

CHE Partnership and Working Group Calls

CHE Partnership Call - Right to Know - Right for Health: A Historic Joint Initiative of Major Canadian Health Organizations
Wednesday, April 23, 2008 at 10am PT / 1pm ET

Do you have a right to know if there are toxic or carcinogenic substances in the products you buy? In March of 2008, the Canadian Cancer Society, The Lung Association, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada launched a major joint initiative to bring public attention to and political action on environmental health hazards. The first major component: a call for the Canadian federal government to extend regulatory requirements for full ingredient labeling - with hazard symbols where appropriate- for all consumer products.

Join us for a discussion of this historic effort. See below for how to RSVP. We hope  you will join us.

Speakers will include:

  • Dan Demers, Director of National Public Issues, Canadian Cancer Society
  • Manuel Arango, Assistant Director, Government Relations, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
  • Claire Checkland, Policy Analyst, Canadian Cancer Society
  • Cameron Bishop, Director of Government Affairs and Media Relations, The Lung Association

The call will be moderated by Michael Lerner, President of Commonweal. It will last one hour, and will be recorded for archival purposes.

More information about this call


Resources from Recent CHE Partnership Calls
If you missed any of the following CHE Partnership Calls, you may listen to MP3 recordings and find supporting materials at the following links: 

Mar. 23, 2008 - "Breast Cancer and the Environment: State of the Evidence 2008"
Feb. 26, 2008 - "Alzheimer's: An Ecological Health Disease?"
Jan. 17, 2008 - "Findings from the Environmental and Occupational Causes of Cancer Report"

And of course, you can always explore our archived resources from past Partnership calls.

CHE Working and Regional Group Updates

CHE Fertility/Early Pregnancy Compromise ~ coordinated by Julia Varshavsky, julia@healthandenvironment.org
We are pleased to announce that proceedings from the January 2007 UCSF-CHE Summit on Environmental Challenges to Reproductive Health and Fertility -- where over 400 scientists, health professionals, and health affected group representatives gathered for three days in San Francisco, California -- are now published and available! Thanks to the generosity of Elsevier and Fertility and Sterility, you can view the proceedings for free at: www.ucsf.edu/coe/prhe_fertility_and_sterility.html.

A lay companion report will also be available shortly. Please email prhe@obgyn.ucsf.edu for information on how to receive a copy of the report.

Please join us for an upcoming CHE Fertility teleconference -- Looking Forward: Chemical Impacts to Future Generations -- scheduled for Tuesday, April 15 at 9:30am PT / 12:30pm ET. This teleconference will be a discussion about emerging science on transgenerational effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals, a topic that many participants of the January 2007 Summit on Reproductive Health and Fertility expressed great interest in. We will hear presentations on recent findings of ovarian cancer in the granddaughters of women who took Diethylstilbestrol (DES) while pregnant; of reproductive health problems found in mice exposed to PCBs; and what these studies mean for the broader environmental reproductive health field.

This call will last one hour and will be recorded for archival purposes. For more information, please visit the CHE Fertility website.

Speakers include:

Elizabeth Hatch, PhD, Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Boston University, School of Public Health
Andrea Gore, PhD, Professor, College of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Texas at Austin
Pete Myers, PhD, CEO, Environmental Health Sciences

To RSVP and receive dial-in instructions, please email Julia@HealthandEnvironment.org


CHE EMF ~ coordinated by Nancy Evans, nancywrite@comcast.net, and Cindy Sage, sage@silcom.com
CHE partner and CHE EMF working group member Camilla Rees reports that the March 19 presentation at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club, "Microwave Radiation: The Shadow Side of the Wireless Revolution" is now available on the Commonwealth Club's website in the Archive section. It streams using Real Audio. There is no charge to listen. You may need to download Real Audio if you don't have it.

Scientists on the panel included David Carpenter, MD, Cindy Sage, Co-Facilitator of the CHE EMF Working Group, and Professor Magda Havas, PhD, of Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. David and Cindy were the co-editors of the BioInitiative Report, and Magda was author of a report sent last summer to the City of San Francisco on health hazards of city-wide Wi-Fi.

On May 27, 2008, an international conference on "Health Risks From Non-Ionizing Radiation due to Mobile Telephony" will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Philippe Grandjean, MD, PhD, Harvard University School of Public Health, will chair the conference. Dr. Grandjean is also the lead author of the Faroes Statement on human health effects of developmental exposure to chemicals in our environment, published in The Lancet in November 2006. Cindy Sage and David Carpenter will attend this meeting, which is free to all researchers and others interested in the research on health risks of mobile telephony.

For more information or to register, visit the conference website.

In a major change of direction, the French National Library has decided not to install WI-FI, based on rising scientific and public health concern (and the concern of staff and patrons) about exposures to wireless RF. It follows the lead of other Paris-based libraries that disconnected their existing WI-FI services over health concerns of workers.


Health & Environment Alliance ~ coordinated by Lisette Van Vliet, lisette@env-health.org
On April 2nd, HEAL and CHEM Trust presented a new scientific report linking breast cancer to certain manmade chemicals to the European Parliament in Brussels. The report, entitled "Breast cancer and exposure to hormonally active chemicals: An appraisal of the scientific evidence", is a background briefing paper by Professor Andreas Kortenkamp, Head of the Centre for Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, University of London. His scientific review focuses on the role of hormone-disrupting chemicals, with particular reference to early life and multiple chemical exposures. It was prepared in the framework of the Chemicals Health Monitor Project www.chemicalshealthmonitor.org

Other publications presented at the Parliamentary event included a briefing entitled "Factors influencing the risk of breast cancer - established and emerging" and a leaflet entitled "Breast Cancer: Preventing the preventable" targeted to the general public and breast cancer sufferers, as well as a portfolio" of peer-reviewed scientific papers. All publications are available online at http://chemicalshealthmonitor.org/spip.php?rubrique100  

If you want to receive paper copies, please write an email to Hana Kuncova: hana@env-health.org

Do you want to know more about environmental health policy in Europe? HEAL has produced a "Health and Environment Primer", which provides an introduction to all aspects of European environmental health policy.

The guide defines basic environmental health concepts and maps out recent developments in the environment and health arena. It covers European policy developments in an accessible and approachable way combing history with information about relevant organisations and providing web-page references.

For more information and to download the primer, please visit http://www.env-health.org/a/2843


CHE Learning and Developmental Disabilities (LDDI) ~ coordinated by Elise Miller, emiller@iceh.org
LDDI is continuing to develop a policy consensus statement based on the recent scientific consensus statement on environmental agents associated with neurodevelopmental disorders and intends to publish this by June 2008.

The Learning Disabilities Association of Michigan (LDA-MI) co-sponsored AAIDD's (American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilties) annual meeting in Michigan on April 3rd in which environmental health issues were highlighted. In addition, Laura Abulafia of AAIDD spoke at the New York State's Children's Environmental Health Symposium in Albany, NY on March 17th, which was co-sponsored by LDA-NYS. Leading LDDI members are continuing to find ways to partner on events such as these.

AAIDD is continuing to organize and host its excellent monthly teleconference series featuring researchers who focus on the nexus of developmental disabilities and environmental health and justice. As part of this series, Jay Schnider, PhD spoke on "Lead Exposure and Developmental Disabilities" yesterday, April 8th. Information on that call and future teleconference calls can be found at: http://www.ehinitiative.org/Projects/tele_con.htm.

The four leading LDDI groups, LDA, AAIDD, ASA (Autism Society of America) and NADD (the National Association for the Dually Diagnosed), continue to have monthly strategic planning calls. The groups are currently considering undertaking a biomonitoring study that would focus on neurotoxicants and people in the LDD sector.

The LDDI Scientific Consensus Statement continues to attract media attention, appearing in this recent Dallas Child article on environmental toxins. CHE Partner Steven G. Gilbert, PhD, DABT, of the Institute of Neurotoxicology & Neurological Disorders and lead author of the statement, is quoted.


CHE Washington ~ coordinated by Aimee Boulanger, aboulanger@iceh.org

HE-WA kicked off the fifth annual environmental health lecture series in January with the theme focused on: "Seeking Solutions: Connecting Economics with Health and Environment." The fourth and final lecture of the series will be held Wednesday evening, April 30th at Town Hall Seattle. Our topic will be creating a collective vision for sustainable economics in the 21st century. Our speakers are Joshua Farley, PhD of the Gund Institute at the University of Vermont and David Korten, PhD, author of When Corporations Rule the World and The Great Turning. They will particularly focus on the current financial crisis and how applying an ecological economics frame might lead to a more positive outcome. For more information on our previous and future lectures, please see: http://washington.chenw.org/lectures.html

CHE-WA's Precautionary Principle working group is currently researching potential health issues related to synthetic playing fields. Members of the group recognize the benefits of recycling materials, like old tires, to make these fields, and the physical comfort of using these surfaces; however, many new studies are also raising concerns about contaminants released by these synthetic fields.

CHE-WA's new working group on children's environmental health hosted a working group meeting in March and is planning to host a conference on children's environmental health in Seattle in 2009. The group includes representatives from King County government agencies, as well as other agency staff, environmental health and justice organizations, members of the American Academy of Pediatricians, researchers and others.   

Some of CHE-WA members have been strongly focused on some state legislation related to environmental health concerns. On April 1, Washington's Governor Christine Gregoire signed the toughest law in the U.S. governing toy safety. The bill sets strong limits on the amount of lead, cadmium, and phthalates in children's toys, teething products, car seats, and cosmetics and jewelry marketed to those under age 12.

The CHE-WA Steering Committee met in March in person for a half-day "retreat" to evaluate CHE-WA strengths and to consider ways to improve how we serve a diverse base of members interested in the intersection of human health and the environment. This meeting surfaced a number of recommendations that we plan to implement in the coming year. More about these changes and opportunities will be posted on our biweekly e-bulletins and web site. 


Tools, Announcements and Resources

Environmental Justice Small Grants Program
Closing Date for Applications: June 30, 2008
Funding Opportunity Number: EPA-OECA-OEJ-08-01

The Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) established the Environmental Justice Small Grants Program (EJSG) in fiscal year (FY) 1994. The purpose of this grant program is to support and empower communities that are working on local solutions to local environmental and/or public health issues. The EJSG Program is designed to assist recipients in building collaborative partnerships that will help them understand and address the environmental and/or public health issues in their communities. Successful collaborative partnerships with other stakeholders involve well-designed strategic plans to build, maintain and sustain the partnerships, and to work towards addressing the local environmental and/or public health issues.

Details at http://www.epa.gov/compliance/environmentaljustice/grants/ej-smgrants.html


EPA Communities in Action for Asthma-Friendly Environments
National Forum 2008
May 1-2, 2008

Washington, D.C.

Join asthma leaders from across the nation to share the most effective strategies for managing asthma and achieving positive results.

For more information, visit www.epaasthmaforum.com.


Full Access to the Scientific Proceedings of the UCSF-CHE Summit on Environmental Challenges to Reproductive Health and Fertility
We are very pleased to announce that, due to the generosity of Elsevier and Fertility and Sterility, we are able to offer full access to the Scientific Proceedings of the UCSF-CHE Summit on Environmental Challenges to Reproductive Health and Fertility. You can find links to the articles on the following web site: www.ucsf.edu/coe/prhe_fertility_and_sterility.html.

A lay companion report on the Summit will be available next month. For details on how to receive copies, please email prhe@obgyn.ucsf.edu


European Climate Change and Health Good Practice Award
Addressing the public health challenge presented by climate change and our high carbon lifestyles requires local and regional action. That is why, on the occasion of this year's World Health Day 2008: protecting health from climate change, the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and the European REGional Health Authorities (EUREGHA) network have jointly launched a Good Practice Award for European local and regional projects that simultaneously promote human health and protect the climate. The competition has two awards categories: climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation, aiming to showcase health focused projects where establishments have reduced their carbon footprint or are preparing themselves for the inevitable changes that climate change will bring.

For more information, please visit the awards website: 


"10 Americans" Biomonitoring Presentation by Ken Cook of EWG
Tuesday, April 15, 11:30 AM

University of Washington's South Campus Center, Room 354

The Environmental Working Group found 287 chemicals in the blood of 10 Americans. Who were they? Why should we care? What role does/should biomonitoring play in public health? "10 Americans" is a captivating and compelling presentation by Ken Cook, MSc, President of Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) that brings to light the hidden danger of human exposure to toxic chemicals and what it may mean for our health and our children's future.

A light lunch and drinks will be provided. Seating is limited, so please get there early.

Sponsored by: Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences and School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of Washington, Institute for Children's Environmental Health, and Institute of Neurotoxicology & Neurological Disorders.


Palo Alto Reproductive Health and the Environment Lecture Series
Presented by Arcterra, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, and the Reproductive Health Technologies Project

Challenged Conceptions - The Impact of Environmental Chemicals on Fertility and the Developing Fetus
Thursday, April 24, 7 - 8:30 PM

Join us for a thought-provoking discussion with Sarah Janssen, MD, PhD and MPH, who is a practicing physician and science fellow with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Dr. Janssen, a new mom, is an expert in endocrine-disrupting chemicals that can detrimentally impact pregnancy, fertility and the developing fetus.

Pesticides and Playgrounds- Chemicals in Our Children's Everyday Environment
Wednesday, May 7, 6:30 - 8:30 PM

Charlotte Brody of Commonweal and Renee Sharp from the Environmental Working Group will join Susan Kegley from the Pesticide Action Network North America to share resources that you can use to protect your family from the harmful effect of pesticides. From food shopping to household cleaning supplies to local pesticide policies, pick up some everyday tips and tools to use and share.

All lectures will take place at the Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto, California.


Oregon Environmental Council's 2008 Healthy Environment Forum Series
Portland, Oregon

This March, the Oregon Environmental Council (OEC) will begin the seventh season of the Healthy Environment Forum series. Each year this unique series brings several hundred health professionals, health advocates, environmentalists and interested citizens together to learn about emerging issues. These forums have traditionally helped to build understanding and cooperation toward consensus about some of Oregon's most difficult environmental and health challenges.

The 2008 schedule:

Packing on the Compounds: How Exposure to Common Chemicals is Fueling the Obesity Epidemic
Bruce Blumberg, PhD
Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Falling Age of Puberty in U.S. Girls: What We Know and Need to Know
Sandra Steingraber, PhD
Thursday, May 22, 2008

Drugs in the Water: How Our Medicine Cabinets are Contaminating Nature
Ilene Ruhoy, MD
Thursday, June 19, 2008
All events are from 6-8 PM at the Doubletree Hotel-Lloyd Center, 1000 NE Multnomah, Portland. Hors d'oeuvres will be served. Cost is $35 per event ($25 for OEC members and employees of nonprofit or governmental agencies). Purchasing tickets for this event also entitles non-members to a complimentary year of membership with the Oregon Environmental Council.

Reservations can be made online at www.oeconline.org.


CHE-WA Clearinghouse: Call for Input
As a follow-up to a survey that CHE-WA conducted last summer, we are building a clearinghouse of environmental health training opportunities, presentations, curricula, handouts, brochures, self-study materials and speakers. We'll include opportunities available within Washington state and also online materials from any location.
Do you have materials that you would like to have listed in the clearinghouse? Can your organization offer an existing or custom training if requested? Are you willing to speak to a group in a training or workshop setting? Please send information and links if available to Nancy Snow at ICEH: nsnow@iceh.org
This clearinghouse will be online and searchable so that all CHE-WA members can find organizations that already provide trainings on specific topics or speakers and/or materials for use in trainings and workshops.
If you missed the opportunity to take the survey of training needs, the survey is again available on the CHE-WA website: http://washington.chenw.org/surveyForm.html

April Science News

Researchers find bacteria that devour antibiotics
New York Times, Apr. 8, 2008
The researchers found hundreds of bacteria that can subsist on antibiotics as their sole source of carbon. Read more...

Common clay can slay superbugs, study finds
CanWest News, Apr. 7, 2008
Ordinary clay can kill the drug-resistant superbug MRSA and other lethal infections, and is being investigated as a potential tool in treating patients. Read more...

Chemical industry's influence at EPA probed
Washington Post, Apr. 4, 2008
A congressional committee is investigating ties between the chemical industry and expert review panels hired by the Environmental Protection Agency to help it determine safe levels for a variety of
chemical compounds.

Signs of autism found in 1 in 4 born prematurely
Associated Press, Apr. 2, 2008
A small study of toddlers finds that about one-quarter of babies born very prematurely had signs of autism on an early screening test. Read more...

Why eating just one sausage a day can raise your cancer risk 20%
Daily Mail, Mar. 31, 2008
One sausage a day can significantly raise the risk of bowel cancer, one of the deadliest forms of the disease, experts have warned. Read more...

Dad's hidden influence
Science News, Mar. 29, 2008
Growing evidence suggests that a father's age and his exposure to chemicals can leave a medical legacy that lasts generations. Read more...

Pesticide Parkinson's link strong
BBC, Mar. 29, 2008
There is strong evidence that exposure to pesticides significantly increases the risk of Parkinson's disease, experts believe. Read more...

Study links belly fat to dementia
The Wall Street Journal, Mar. 29, 2008
People who have more belly fat during middle age, even those considered to be of normal weight, have higher rates of dementia when they reach old age, according to a study in the journal Neurology. Read more...

Hair dyes found to increase cancer risk
London Independent, Mar. 26, 2008
Hairdressers and barbers are at increased risk of developing cancer - because of their use of hair dyes. And the risks could extend to personal use of the dyes, according to international experts. Read more...


New Partners
We welcome the many new CHE Partners who have joined since the January newsletter. To see the list of new CHE Partners and the growing list of all CHE Partners, please visit http://www.healthandenvironment.org/base/partners-recent.

Thank you for taking the time to read the latest about CHE. As always, we welcome your questions and suggestions. Please direct comments to Eleni Sotos, CHE Program Director, at Eleni@HealthandEnvironment.org.

Best wishes,

Eleni Sotos, MA, Program Director
Shelby Gonzalez, Administrative Coordinator
Julia Varshavsky, Program Associate

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