PoisoningOurChildren

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Join EDF in Opposing Michael Dourson’s Nomination to EPA

Fifteen years ago, our eight-year-old daughter Katherine died of a preventable leukemia caused, we have every reason to believe, by mosquito spraying with chlorpyrifos, without permission or notification. Most parents cannot imagine what it is like to wake up and find their beloved child dead beside them. We have fought ever since to make sure fewer parents ever do.

If only we had known that this pernicious practice still existed — of broadcast spraying deadly pesticides down streets, in homes, coating every object and piece of vegetation — we would have stopped it. We did stop it, too late for Katherine. And mosquito spraying is only one route for exposure. We could work to help prevent children’s exposures today and tomorrow, exposures that often cause cancer, autism, ADHD, lower IQs, birth defects, and auto-immune disease. Pesticide exposures even contribute to the obesity epidemic. If we can reduce the average person’s exposure to tobacco smoke, with long-lasting health benefits for all, we could do the same thing for exposure to toxics.

Imagine, then, our feelings when we learned that President Trump has picked a chemical industry hired gun, Michael Dourson, to lead chemical safety at EPA. Dourson has worked for many years for chemical industry clients to downplay concerns about their products and advocate for looser standards. In Chicago, Koch Industries paid him to minimize the impact of the large petcoke piles in the neighborhood. On chlorpyrifos, the chemical we believe killed our daughter, Dourson has worked for industry interests to downplay concerns about the pesticide, which also harms children’s brain development—working for the chemicals producer to argue for a standard many times less protective than the EPA standard in place at the time and thousands of times less protective than the standard today.

He’s worked to downplay other cancer-causing chemicals like 1,4-Dioxane, PFOA and TCE. As many news outlets have now documented, when a chemical company was in trouble, they knew they could count on Dourson to help argue their way out.

He delivers results for the chemical companies, and our children suffer.

Who could possibly look at such a background and believe Dourson should be entrusted with the health of our children? Please contact your Senators and ask them to reject Michael Dourson for EPA this week.

Thank you,

Jean-Marie Kauth, PhD

jkauth@ben.edu

Craig W. Colling, PhD

cwcolling@earthlink.net

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Success at Naperville Park District!

In July, Dr. Susan Buchanan from the Great Lakes Center for Children’s Environmental Health at UIC, Ryan Anderson of Midwest Pesticide Action Center, and I joined with a community activist group led by Elizabeth Catherwood to present information about about the hazards of lawn chemicals to the Naperville Park District Board.

Great news! They have decided to significantly increase their organic lawn care in an effort to protect children and will work to spread the word through an educational outreach. What an amazing example of how government can work with citizens and investigate carefully what is best for all. If Naperville can do this, any town can!

Here is the press release in the Chicago Tribune and Naperville Sun:

Naperville Park District to increase organic weedkiller use, limit Roundup

Responding to environmental and health concerns raised by residents this summer, the Naperville Park District will expand its use of organic weedkillers and other products to maintain park grounds, officials said.

For the next two years, eight of the district’s 137 parks will be treated with organic herbicides and similar plant and vegetation products, park district Executive Director Ray McGury announced Thursday. District officials also will continue with their policy of using only organic products on and in the immediate vicinities of playgrounds, McGury said in a statement.

The decision follows a three-month review that included input from the grassroots Non-Toxic Naperville citizens group. Its members asked professional environmental experts to accompany them to a July board meeting at which they expressed concern over the use of Roundup weedkiller and other potentially hazardous products.

Increasing the use of organic sprays and implementing new environmental practices “has been on the radar of the (district) for quite awhile now,” McGury said in the statement. “From maintaining Knoch Park with organic products since 2004 and the implementation of the employee-led Green Team (in) 2009, district board and staff have continued to demonstrate the importance of integrating environmentally-friendly practices into the organization’s operations.”

McGury said the regimen of natural herbicides, fertilizers and other products used in maintaining Knoch Park will be implemented at seven more locations: College Park, Columbia Commons, Cress Creek Park, Crestview Knoll, Dorothea Weigand Riverfront Park, Kingshill Park and Kroehler Park.

Those sites were chosen on the basis of “their varying amenities and locations,” according to McGury’s statement. “The goal is for residents to have a choice of several different parks that will be maintained using only non-synthetic products.”

As has been done in Knoch Park, the seven parks “will be monitored for the next two years, and soil samples will be taken to measure (the earth’s) health, which impacts the turf and foliage,” the statement said. “Provided the products work satisfactorily, the district would plan to expand its use of organic products to additional locations in the future.”

The district in June temporarily stopped using Monsanto’s Roundup brand herbicide glyphosate on playgrounds after residents reacted to a sign alerting park patrons to its use. A petition drive ensued in which residents asked the district to stop using chemical weedkillers.

In recent years, the potential human and environmental risks associated with Roundup and glyphosate has become a national issue. The experts who attended the July park board meeting argued against the use of weed-killing chemicals. Children, they said, are the ones most likely to spend a great deal of time in and on grassy areas, and as a result are at a higher risk of being harmed by such sprays.

McGury said the district will continue using Roundup, “but only in areas not accessible to the public,” such as around retention ponds and in thick woods.

Kevin Finnegan, the district’s director of parks, said officials “fully expect that our plans will continue to evolve as more is learned,” and as more new, effective natural products come onto the market.

Natural or nature-based products as Finalsan, Phydura, Pulverize and Scythe will be used “within 15 feet from the concrete borders and entryways” to playgrounds, according to a presentation made during Thursday night’s meeting.

“Given the fact that more effective alternatives for maintaining natural turf and park spaces are now available in quantities that our staff can work with efficiently, in addition to more economical costs, the time is right for us to increase our scope in this regard,” McGury said.

Elizabeth Catherwood, a Naperville resident and member of Non-Toxic Naperville, said in the statement she was “thrilled that we all were able to come together to make this great change for kids and families in Naperville.”

wbird@tribpub.com

Resources for Healthcare Providers to Help Protect Children from Cancer, Autism, ADHD, and Lowered IQs

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Most Providers think to warn parents about the dangers of lead in older homes and mercury in fish, but they might not ask about exposures to pesticides, endocrine disruptors, and chemicals in personal care products. It is important to educate parents about common environmental health risks that can lead to cancer, autism, ADHD, and lost IQ points in children. Simply exposing parents to the information is something; asking a few more questions on health histories accomplishes even more. Parents usually trust their pediatricians, who are often their very best source of information about how to protect their children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics Statement on Pesticides from 2012 provides definite recommendations for preventing health risks associated with pesticide exposures http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/130/6/e1757. One excellent environmental health history is available at NEEF (National Environmental Education Foundation) at https://www.neefusa.org/health. See the list of Resources for Providers below for a wide range of helpful sources, including links to toolkits for clinicians; CME courses in environmental health; and practical advice from the USCF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, the EPA, and the Midwest Pesticide Action Center. You can find flyers and posters for patients attached just below. All information is firmly based on peer-reviewed literature, best practices, and/or the experience of the Great Lakes Center for Children’s Environmental Health.

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Poster 10 Things 11×17.6

Poster Resources for Providers.2

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PedEnvHistoryForm_complete_Spanish

Env history form 10-2013

Flyer Spanish

Poster 10 Things 11×17.Spanish

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Transgenerational Effects of Toxic Chemicals

The Environmental Working Group has come out with a new report about how the toxics we are exposed to today can affect the health of our children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren by altering the way genes function. These exposures are cumulative not only in the individual but across generations. Please read and reconsider your use of pesticides, endocrine disruptors, and other common toxic chemicals.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
THURSDAY, JULY 13, 2017

WASHINGTON The harmful effects of some chemicals can be passed down not only to children, but also to grandchildren and even great-grandchildren, according to a new EWG report on the growing body of transgenerational toxicity research.

The impact of toxic chemicals on generations of offspring with no direct exposure to the contaminant is known as a transgenerational effect. A limited number of new studies suggest that short-term exposures to some chemicals during pregnancy can cause reproductive system damages, alter body weight, and even increase the risk of cancer for great-grandchildren of exposed animals.

“New science suggests that exposure to contaminants during pregnancy can have health impacts decades later,” said EWG Senior Analyst Sonya Lunder, author of the report. “We need to know more about this phenomenon in order to protect our children and great-grandchildren from the effects of harmful pollutants.”

Groundbreaking research by Mohan Manikkam and Michael Skinner of Washington State University at Pullman helped establish the principle of transgenerational toxicity by showing how toxic chemicals affect subsequent generations that are not directly exposed. In one study, the researchers tested the transgenerational impacts of mixtures of chemicals that people are commonly exposed to in everyday life, including bug repellents, plastics additives and jet fuel. After exposing pregnant rats, they bred three subsequent generations of animals with no exposure to the contaminants.

Despite no direct exposure to the chemicals, the third-generation rats had damaged reproductive systems. Females had an earlier onset of puberty and fewer undeveloped eggs in their ovaries. Male rats had higher levels of dead sperm.

Very few studies of multigenerational health effects in people have been conducted so far. More experimental research is necessary to learn more about this phenomenon and shed light on several concerning health trends including infertility, obesity, and even cancer.

You can read more at here or here.

60 MiNuets: Toxics

Thanks to the Environmental Health Team at UCSF for this fun and educational series on environmental toxics!

They said lead was safe. They said smoking was good for you.
What are they selling now?

A new team of reporters investigates how toxic chemicals are undermining our health and why government is failing to stop it. Modeled after the original 60 Minutes legendary journalists, you can meet the 60 MiNueTs Toxic team here:

Brought to you by University of California, San Francisco’s Environmental Health Initiative and the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, we will unveil one segment a week for the next six weeks featuring scientists and physicians from Columbia, Harvard, Mt. Sinai Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, and, of course, UCSF.  Each segment is about 2 to 3 minutes.

As we premiere them on our social media channels, we hope you will share them with your networks.  You can follow and share from our Twitter and Facebook.  Or copy and paste these sample posts:

Facebook: They tried to keep their findings a secret. Find out what these investigative reporters uncovered. #60MiNueTs @UCSF.PRHEhttp://bit.ly/60MiNueTsPlaylist #HealthNotToxics #SaveEPA

Twitter: A new team uncovers the shocking truth about environmental health threats. @UCSF_PRHE http://bit.ly/60MiNueTsPlaylist #60MiNueTsToxic #HealthNotToxics #SaveEPA

In addition to the series preview, the segments include:

We want to thank the scientists who participated in this project as well as puppeteer Liz Joyce who brought our reporters to life and the Public Interest Media Group for producing the series.

Thank you and we look forward to your thoughts.

Tracey Woodruff, PhD, MPH
Professor and Director, Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment
Co-Founder, Environmental Health Initiative
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences
University of California, San Francisco

 

Fifteen Years: Remembering Katherine

Katherine

Fifteen years ago today, my eight-year-old daughter Katherine died of a preventable leukemia caused, we have every reason to believe, by mosquito spraying with chlorpyrifos, without permission or notification. Most parents cannot imagine what it is like to wake up and find their beloved child dead beside them. Let’s fight to make sure fewer parents ever do.

This week, as part of my MPH internship, I begin working with the Great Lakes Center for Children’s Environmental Health to distribute educational materials to Pediatrician and OB/Gyn offices in the Chicago Region. Anyone should feel free to email me (jkauth@ben.edu) for copies to take to their own providers. If only we had known that this pernicious practice still existed — of broadcast spraying deadly pesticides down streets, in homes, coating every object and piece of vegetation — we would have stopped it. We did stop it, too late for Katherine. And mosquito spraying is only one route for exposure. But right now, you and I can work to help prevent children’s exposures today and tomorrow, exposures that often cause cancer, autism, ADHD, lower IQs, birth defects, and auto-immune disease. Pesticide exposures even contribute to the obesity epidemic. If we can reduce the average person’s exposure to tobacco smoke, with long-lasting health benefits for all, we can do the same thing for exposure to toxics.

I laid flowers on my daughter’s grave tonight — including one of hers, pink, her favorite color — but that is not how I will remember her. I will remember my daughter by working every day to right the terrible injustice that killed her, that deprived her of all these years she should have had with us. That is what, in her precocious wisdom, she would have expected of me.

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Resources for Providers

Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSU)

http://www.pehsu.net

PEHSU’s Pediatric Environmental Toolkit

http://www.pehsu.net/PEH_ToolKit.html

Great Lakes Center for Children’s Environmental Health

http://publichealth.uic.edu/great-lakes/childrens-health

USCF: Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment: Clinical Practice

https://prhe.ucsf.edu/clinical-practice-resources

National Environmental Education Foundation: Health

https://www.neefusa.org/health

EPA: Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisonings

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-01/documents/rmpp_6thed_final_lowresopt.pdf

Midwest Pesticide Action Network

http://midwestpesticideaction.org

American Academy of Pediatrics Statement on Pesticides

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/130/6/e1757

President’s Cancer Panel 2010: Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk

https://deainfo.nci.nih.gov/advisory/pcp/annualreports/pcp08-09rpt/pcp_report_08-09_508.pdf

TENDR Consensus Statement

https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/wp-content/uploads/124/7/EHP358.alt.pdf

CDC Biomonitoring Project

http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/

Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA): Generation in Jeopardy

http://www.panna.org/resources/publication-report/report-generation-jeopardy or http://www.panna.org/resources/kids-frontline

Environmental Working Group (EWG): Dirty Dozen, Cosmetics, Ten Americans

https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list.php or http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ or http://www.ewg.org/news/videos/10-americans

CDC / ATSDR Environmental Health and Medicine Education: CME credit

https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/emes/health_professionals/index.html

Healthy Fish Choices: CME credit

http://cores33webs.mede.uic.edu/HealthyFishChoices/index.html

Green Kids Doc Blog

https://greenkidsdoc.wordpress.com/2017/05/

Poisoning Children Blog

https://www.poisoningchildren.com

Last Chance to Speak out against Chlorpyrifos!

Pesticide Action Network (PANNA) offers a customizable petition to speak out against one of the worst pesticides around. Abundant evidence of the harm to children has been around for decades, yet it has not been banned, despite the EPA’s own recommendations before the election. I and both my children were acutely ill from exposure, and my daughter went straight from acute symptoms of exposure to leukemia. If only a generation previous had banned it, as they should have, she would have been twenty-three years old right now.

I mentioned Katherine, and all the other children who are affected by childhood cancer, autism, ADHD, and lowered IQs. Bouchard and others showed in 2011 that the children with the top fifth highest levels of chlorpyrifos in their blood were seven IQ points lower than those in the bottom fifth, and that’s not zero. This is one study showing one effect on children, but there are hundreds if not thousands of others. You can read more on my blogs here or here.

Visit Panna at http://www.panna.org/take-action/epa-follow-science-chlorpyrifos to make your comments.

EPA, follow the science on chlorpyrifos

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14,002 Signatures Collected
Only 11,598 more until our goal of 25,600

To: Scott Pruitt, EPA Administrator
From: Jean-Marie Kauth

Dear Administrator Pruitt,

The sudden reversal of your agency’s plans to get chlorpyrifos off the market was shameful. The March 29 decision cannot stand. All chlorpyrifos uses must be banned to protect children, workers and consumers from this brain-harming chemical.

The science is in: There are no safe uses of chlorpyrifos. Prenatal exposures to this chemical are associated with reduced IQ, loss of working memory, attention disorders and delayed motor development. Whenever chlorpyrifos is sprayed, it can cause immediate and long-term health harms to kids, farmers, farmworkers and others who are exposed.

In its latest risk assessment of chlorpyrifos, your agency’s scientists determined that:

* All food exposures exceed safe levels, with children ages 1-2 exposed to levels of chlorpyrifos that are 140 times what the EPA deems safe.
* There is no safe level of chlorpyrifos in drinking water.
* Chlorpyrifos is found at unsafe levels in the air at schools and homes in communities in agricultural areas.
* All workers who mix and apply chlorpyrifos are exposed to unsafe levels of the pesticide, even with maximum personal protective equipment and engineering controls.

Action on this neurotoxic chemical is long overdue. We insist that you follow your own scientists’ recommendations and take action to ban chlorpyrifos.