Non-Toxic: Guide to Living Healthy in a Chemical World

October 14, 2020
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

Slides & Resources


Aly Cohen and Fred vom Saal: Non-Toxic: Guide to Living Healthy in a Chemical World.


Oxford University Press. (2020, September). Non-Toxic: Guide to Living Healthy in a Chemical World. [Press Release].

How Toxic chemicals contribute to COVID-19 deaths: Frederick vom Saal, Aly CohenEHN.org. April 17, 2020.

Frederick vom Saal and Aly Cohen. Disinfection dangers: How to avoid viruses without exposing yourself to toxics. EHN.org. September 18, 2020.

Aly Cohen. (2019, December 12). How to Protect Your Kids from Toxic Chemicals: Aly Cohen. TEDx Cape May.

Environmental Working Group (EWG) www.ewg.org
EWG’s Skin Deep Database www.ewg.org/skindeep 
Because Health www.ceh.org/yourhealth
Green Science Policy Institute greensciencepolicy.org
Environmental Defence environmentaldefence.ca
Natural Resources Defense Council www.nrdc.org
Environmental Health News www.ehn.org
Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE) www.healthandenvironment.org
Healthy Environment and Endocrine Disruptor Strategies (HEEDS) heeds.org
Environmental Protection Agency www.epa.gov
Pediatric Environmental Health Speciality Units (PEHSU) www.pehsu.net
Health Care Without Harm noharm.org
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention www.cdc.gov
Environmental Health Trust:  www.EHTrust.org
Electromagnetic Radiation Safety: www.saferemr.com
Consumer Reports Greener Choices www.greenerchoices.org

During this webinar, Dr. Aly Cohen and Dr. Fred vom Saal discussed their new consumer guidebook, Non-Toxic: Guide to Living Healthy in a Chemical World, published by Oxford University Press and part of the Dr. Weil Healthy Living Guide series. Their first project together was the textbook, Integrative Environmental Medicine, also published by Oxford University Press and part of the Weil Academic Series.

Dr. Cohen and Dr. vom Saal discussed how they came to collaborate, their unique backgrounds and perspectives as a clinician and researcher (respectively), and their shared mission to share critical topics in environmental health with the public.

They shared key topics about environmental chemicals covered in their new guidebook, Non-Toxic, such as U.S. regulatory failures, endocrine and immune system effects, vulnerable periods of exposure, and their link to worsened immune response to Covid-19 infection. They discussed the ubiquity of industrial chemicals found in food, drinking water, personal care and cleaning products, textiles, furniture, and dust, and shared recommendations to reduce harmful chemical exposures, including avoidance, lifestyle changes, and the use of vetted apps, websites, and other resources found in Non-Toxic.

Drs. Cohen and vom Saal have worked to make Non-Toxic a timely, relevant, and reliable resource for environmental health information. Non-Toxic was designed to inform the general public on a variety of environmental health topics (chemicals, EMF radiation, medications, stress eg.) to reduce harmful exposures, and help to prevent and manage both acute and chronic health conditions.

Featured Speakers

Aly Cohen MD, FACR, FABoIM, is a board certified rheumatologist and integrative medicine specialist, and founder of Integrative Rheumatology Associates. She is a Jones/Lovell Fellow from Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine, and is on faculty of the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM), where she created and oversees the environmental health curricula for the program. She received her BA from the university of Pennsylvania and her medical degree from Hahnemann-MCP School of Medicine (currently Drexel University). She completed her residency in internal medicine at Beth Israel Hospital, NY and her fellowship training in rheumatology at Montefiore-Albert Einstein Medical Center in the Bronx, NY.

In 2015, she created TheSmartHuman.com to share environmental health and prevention information with the public. She lectures nationally on 'environmental health' topics for elementary/high schools, colleges/universities, medical schools, and physician training programs. In 2015 she received the NJ Healthcare Heroes Award in Education for The Smart Human educational platform and she was awarded the 2016 Burton L. Eichler Award for humanitarianism.

In 2017 she co-edited the textbook, “Integrative Environmental Medicine”, Oxford University Press, along with Dr. Frederick vom Saal. Their consumer book, "Non-Toxic: Guide to Living Healthy in a Chemical World", will be released in 2020. Her TED talk, "How to Protect Your Kids from Toxic Chemicals" can be found on YouTube, and you can follow her health tips and recommendations on Facebook: The Smart Human, Twitter and Instagram: @thesmarthuman and read her blog and posts at TheSmartHuman.com!

After graduating from New York University, Fred vom Saal, PhD, was a Peace Corps volunteer in Somalia and Kenya, and then taught biology in Paris. He returned to the USA and received a Ph.D. in neurobiology from Rutgers University and postdoctoral training in reproductive biology at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1979 he joined the faculty at the University of Missouri where he is Curators’ Professor of biology. The focus of his research is on abnormal development of reproductive organs and metabolic processes due to exposure during fetal life to estrogenic chemicals in plastic. In addition, he is participating in numerous collaborative projects relating environmental chemicals with diseases in humans.
Beginning in 1990 he was one of a small group of scientists who identified a previously unrecognized hazard, which they named endocrine disrupting chemicals. These chemicals are being used in common household products and disrupted hormones causing a wide variety of diseases. He and his colleagues at MU published a series of articles over the past 15 years identifying what is referred to as "low-dose effects" of endocrine disrupting chemicals in plastics and pesticides. Their findings have created what is called a "paradigm shift" in the way governments regulate chemicals previously assumed to be safe.
“I was initially astonished and appalled when a representative from the chemical manufacturers first tried to bribe me to not publish findings concerning the endocrine disrupting chemical BPA used in plastic,” vom Saal says. “Since that attempt failed, there have been continuous attacks on my research findings as well as personal attacks against me. I am proud that our research was considered important enough to lead to a huge number of follow-up studies by scientists around the world who have validated our findings. In spite of an escalating PR campaign opposing change, governments around the world are now taking action to regulate the use of BPA in products such as baby bottles.”

He has published over 160 articles on his research and has testified at hearings in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, numerous State legislative bodies, the EU Parliament, and at regulatory agency hearings in U.S., Germany and Japan. He has served on editorial boards of a number of scientific journals, National Institute of Health grant review panels, on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Hormonally Active Agents in the Environment, and is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and several other foundations. 

For his outstanding contributions to science and the environment, vom Saal was honored this year with a Heinz Award, which comes with an unrestricted cash prize of $100,000.

This webinar is one in a monthly series sponsored by the EDC Strategies Partnership. The EDC Strategies Partnership is co-chaired by Sharyle Patton (Commonweal Biomonitoring Resource Center), Jerry Heindel (Commonweal HEEDS, Healthy Environment and Endocrine Disruptor Strategies), Genon Jensen (HEAL, Health and Environment Alliance), Sarah Howard (HEEDS and the Commonweal Diabetes and Environment Program), and Hannah Donart (Commonweal CHE, Collaborative on Health and the Environment). To see a full list of past calls and webinars related to EDCs and listen to or view recordings, please visit our partnership page. For updates and more information on upcoming webinars, sign up for our HEEDSHEAL, and CHE newsletters! 

This webinar was moderated by Jerry Heindel, PhD, founder and director of Commonweal's Healthy Environment and Endocrine Disruptor Strategies (HEEDS). It lasted for 45 minutes and was recorded for our call and webinar archive.