Archive for April, 2009

Regarding Bill 924 & Artificial Turf Fields in CT – Important to read no matter where you live in the USA!

Dear Senator Gaffey,

I am a mother of three children ages 11, 14 and 16 years and live in Darien , Connecticut .  I am also the vice chairman of the Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center in New York and work for Dr. Philip Landrigan, chairman of the department .  If you do not know, he is the doctor who conducted the research in the 1970’s that resulted in the government passing laws to remove lead from gasoline and paint.  He also strongly supports a moratorium on the installation of turf fields until more research can be conducted on their safety.

I am discouraged and saddened that you did not choose to support Bill 924.  Dr. Landrigan has told me that exposure to lead, no matter how small (even lead dust), can cause irreversible brain damage and loss of IQ.  It is also directly related to ADHD and other learning disabilities.  My two sons play football and baseball on turf fields in Darien and surrounding towns so I see and smell artificial turf fields on a regular basis.

I have seen small children sift the shredded crumb rubber from turf fields in their hands like sand.  I have listened to a carload of boys complain about how hot the turf is when they played in 82 degree F weather.  I witnessed one 10 year old boy throw a fist full of crumb rubber into my son’s face such that the black pellets were in his mouth and stuck to the whites of his eyes. I find crumb rubber pellets in my car, dryer, and mud room.  I also worry that when my sons’ have cuts on their bodies, they are at an increased likelihood of contracting MRSA, the antibiotic resistant bacteria.

I am lucky because I know Dr. Landrigan and can insist my sons shower after practice, cover their open cuts with Basitracin, and skip practice when the temperature outside is above 80 degrees.  But what about the rest of the turf playing children in Connecticut ?  Do you feel good waiting for the results from a study while kids unknowingly handle and breathe in the dust from shredded tires that contain lead and heavy metals?  The only reason I can surmise shredded tires are used where our children play is because of a loophole in recycling laws.  There are laws that prevent me from throwing away tires in Darien ’s town dump due to their toxic runoff, but no laws to protect my kids.

I was sickened, with a pit in my stomach, when my son stumbled off the field spitting out crumb rubber and tearing, crying really, due to the crumb rubber in his eyes.  Perhaps you do not understand what kind of dangers you are continuing to permit with your decision.  I hope this letter convinces you to vote differently next time.  The warning signs at turf fields are needed now, so in the mean time I will do all I can to spread the word about the dangers of turf fields.


Rhonda Sherwood

Vice Chairman

Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center


The first 100 days of President Barack Obama’s Presidency

On Friday, May 1, starting at 7 PM, please join the Greenwich Democrats and Friends from around Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District at The Saltwater Grille overlooking the harbor in Shippan to celebrate and review the first 100 days of President Barack Obama‘s presidency.

In addition to great food and great music, we will hear Attorney General Dick Blumenthal and Congressman Jim Himes review these remarkable first 100 Days.  And there will be no shortage of political discussion as we mingle with and hear from Mayor Dan Malloy, Selectman Lin Lavery, Ned Lamont and one another.

In keeping with Michelle Obama‘s call for Americans to be actively involved in community service, several local agencies will be on hand to speak with us individually about service opportunities.

Please go to to RSVP and for more details. And then please share this invitation with your friends.

See you on May 1st from 7 PM to Midnight at The Saltwater Grille! President Obama’s First 100 Days Celebration

• Congresssman Jim Himes & Attorney General Dick Blumenthal tell us about the first 100 days in Washington DC and Hartford • Hearty Hors D’oeuvres, Pasta Buffet and Complimentary Drink • Heed Michelle Obama’s call to community service with opportunities from several local organizations • Dancing to Calypso and Jazz with the Terry Hess Band • Also joining us: Mayor Dan Malloy, former Senate candidate Ned Lamont, Selectman Lin Lavery •

Date: Friday, May 1
Time: 7 PM – 12 MN
Cost: $50
Place: Saltwater Grille
183 Harbor Drive
Stamford, CT

Latest news…

For the latest news on Mount Sinai’s Children’s Environmental Health Center, it is worth to check out

for the latest information on research project, testamonials, scientific information on Phaltates and BPA, video of Dr. Philip Landrigan about lead in toys, a video by Dr Joel Forman on Synthetic Turf and Dr Maida Galvez on Plastics Exposed in Childhood

Special Education Law Attorneys Representing Parents and School Boards Discuss the Issues

Monday, May 4, 2009

7:00-8:30 pm

Fairfield Public Library, Memorial Room, Second Floor,

1080 Old Post Road , Fairfield , CT 06824

This free seminar will address what every parent should know about their child’s basic special education rights in and outside of school. Hear both sides of the story and learn how attorneys representing parents and school boards can work together to resolve various disputes.

Presenters: Phillip J. Cohn, attorney representing parents, from the Law Office of Phillip J. Cohn, LLC, and Michelle Laubin, attorney representing school boards, from Berchem, Moses, & Devlin.

Sponsored by the Connecticut Association for Children and Adults with Learning Disabilities (CACLD). All are welcome! To make a reservation, please email


25 Van Zant Street, Suite 15-5

East Norwalk, CT 06855-1719

(203) 838-5010

Hospitals Going Green for Patient Health

One precious newborn is breathing air that’s as clean as possible. That’s because New York ‘s The Mount Sinai Medical Center greened their entire maternity ward. One of the hospital’s first steps: reduce PVC-exposure. The material can give off a chemical that may affect hormonal development in newborns. “There are certain tissues, especially like the brain, that develop after birth, so these organs that are continuing to develop and mature are susceptible to a lot of different things,” says Dr. Keith Eddleman, director of obstetrics at Mount Sinai’s School of Medicine.

– Dr. Keith Eddleman, Professor, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science, Director of Obstetrics, Mount Sinai ‘s School of Medicine

Learn more:

Dry Cleaning Tidbit

Whenever you pick up from the dry cleaners (which is already bad for you), you should take clothing out of the plastic immediately. The chemicals they use, adhere to the plastic and clothes.

Also, (something that I already believed), is that although so many our clothes say they need to be dry-cleaned, really don’t need be to, and can easily be handwashed.

Important New Study on Phthalates by Dr Landrigan

Please read the NY Times blog below which appeared on Friday.  It talks about a new study Dr. Landrigan and his colleagues did at Mount Sinai which links phthalates to obesity in children- children under the age of SIX YEARS OLD!!  The new twist on THIS study is that it was done on children, not animals!  All the naysayers like to point out that very few phthalate studies have been conducted on humans, but leave it to Dr. Landrigan to silence them!  Earlier this week Dr. Landrigan told me he thinks phthalates are even worse than BPA- and BPA is horrible.

Here’s the sentence that stuck in my mind- “heavier girls had more phthalates in their urine”.

Phthalates are in SO MANY THINGS we use everyday- cosmetics, body lotion, shampoo, perfume (unless it’s made from essential oils, and even then the oils may be extracted using solvents which are carcinogenic which is a whole other issue), nail polish, soap, dental floss, air fresheners, easy to swallow pills.  It’s the smell in new cars, PVC shower curtains, computers & in vinyl mini blinds and SOME IV tubing used at hospitals (when I think of preemie babies- it makes me sick).  I recommend you avoid these items like the plague…

Some other phthalate avoiding tips:

  • Avoid buying cosmetics at CVS, Walgreen’s etc., except for Burt’s Bees– because these cosmetics all have phthalates.  Same holds true for most (all?) cosmetics at places like Macy’s and Saks.  I’m buying my makeup at Whole Foods, FYI.
  • Avoid buying products that list the word “fragrance” in the ingredients.  The word fragrance is a catch-all phrase allowed by the FDA to indicate the presence of phthalates and other secret ingredients.
    • The EXCEPTION again is if the fragrance is derived from essential oils or is listed as “plant based”.

  • If you smell that “plastic” smell, especially if you’re pregnant or your kids are still growing, STOP!  Open your new car windows and degass your new shower curtain lining or your computer in a place where your kids don’t play.  It takes awhile, a month even, but be patient…

Keep in mind that phthalates do more than make you fat.  They are also linked with reproductive problems (boys born with penis deformities or undescended testicles), asthma, even cancer.  Check out this link on phthalates from Healthy Child, Healthy World to learn more

Come meet the founder of Allergy Kids – Robyn O’Brien

robynobrien_the-unhe123b1c2Morgan’s Fish House 22 Elm Place Rye, NY 10580

When: Thursday, May 7, 6:00PM

Come meet the founder of Allergy Kids – Robyn O’Brien. Her new book, The Unhealthy Truth is the story of one brave woman’s crusade to take on the system and a call to action that shows how each of us can do our part and keep our own families safe. Robyn has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, the CBS Early Show and Evening News, FOX and other media addressing the recent attention of the addition of cemicals to the American food supply. Come meet Robyn and pick up a copy of her new book while enjoying a glass of wine!

Connecticut is one step closer to being the first state in the US to ban the sale of plastic baby bottles and food and beverage cans that contain that harmful chemical called BPA

Connecticut is one step closer to being the first state in the US to ban the sale of plastic baby bottles and food and beverage cans that contain that harmful chemical called BPA (bisphenol A). Let me tell you why this is a BIG deal.

* This means Connecticut won’t allow any BPA lined food cans- this means Campbell ’s Soup, Coke cans, and even cans of Muir Glen organic tomatoes- to be sold in CT. So you know, ALL THESE PRODUCTS ARE NOW SOLD IN CANS THAT ARE LINED WITH BPA!
* This means those companies must figure out a new way to package their products.
* Don’t fret—you won’t have to go without your favorite canned corn because there are some good options. And I don’t mean frozen corn…

o Oleoresin, a resin made from pine and balsam trees, is already used by Eden Organics. This is what they used to line cans with up until the early 1980s (when a lot of our nation’s health problems started BTW….) It is a tad more expensive, but then again, so is breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease (all diseases linked to BPA)
o Glass, while not as convenient, is another option.

• If this law passes, a warning label will appear on all BPA cans, baby bottles and select other products telling consumers that BPA is harmful to your health!

Now you may think getting BPA out of baby bottles is enough and little babies aren’t eating a ton of canned foods. But take a step back and remember, pregnant moms consume canned food and beverages. Dr. Landrigan says there are “critical windows” of development- during pregnancy and the first 6 years of life- when a baby should not be exposed to chemicals for fear of this exposure causing disease later in life. According a study by the Centers for Disease Control, at any given time, 93% of Americans- kids included- have BPA in their bodies. BPA is everywhere and this has to stop!

The really big deal here is if Campbell ’s wants to sell soup in CT, they’ll be forced to get rid of the BPA, and most likely it means ALL THE CANS SOLD IN THE US WILL HAVE TO BE BPA FREE!! We’ll be making history if this law passes in CT!

As you can imagine, lobbyists from Dow Chemical, Bayer and Sunoco (manufacturers of BPA), as well as the Campbell Soup and Coca Cola companies will fight this one. Over 6 billion pounds of BPA is sold a year, and that translates into a lot of money. That’s where you step in!

What can you do to get this law passed? First, know that YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Call or email your state representative (it’s easy to find them on this link- just type in your address and voila! ) and tell them you support a ban on BPA- not just in baby bottles but IN ALL FOOD AND BEVERAGE CANS.

Don’t listen to the tomfoolery from the FDA that proclaims BPA is safe. The FDA guy heading up the committee evaluating the safety of BPA, Martin Philbert, received a $5 million dollar donation for his science center at the University of Michigan from an outspoken BPA proponent!! Smells like conflict of interest to me!

If you’d like to read the article that appeared this week in the Hartford Courant describing this story check it out on,0,315247.story

I am making it my mission to get this bill passed and I really need your help. Please email your state rep today and forward this email to your friends!! And if you live outside of Connecticut , I suggest you contact your state rep and share your concerns. We can make this happen, but you have to contact your state representatives!!

Thanks for listening,

Rhonda Sherwood

Vice Chairman

Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center

EPA Will Mandate Tests On Pesticide Chemicals

EPA Will Mandate Tests On Pesticide Chemicals
Goal Is to Gauge Risk to Humans, Animals

By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Environmental Protection Agency for the first time will require pesticide manufacturers to test 67 chemicals contained in their products to determine whether they disrupt the endocrine system, which regulates animals’ and humans’ growth, metabolism and reproduction, the agency said yesterday.

Researchers have raised concerns that chemicals released into the environment interfere with animals’ hormone systems, citing problems such as male fish in the Potomac River that are bearing eggs. Known as endocrine disruptors, the chemicals may affect the hormones that humans and animals produce or secrete.

“Endocrine disruptors can cause lifelong health problems, especially for children,” EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said in a statement. “Gathering this information will help us work with communities and industry to protect Americans from harmful exposure.”
Testing will begin this summer and will focus on whether these chemicals affect estrogen, androgen and thyroid systems. The tests eventually will encompass all pesticide chemicals.

Pesticide industry officials said they had anticipated the move, which was set into motion in 1996 by the passage of the Food Quality Protection Act, and they planned to cooperate on the matter.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Jay Vroom, president and chief executive of CropLife America, a major trade association. “For pesticides, we think the likelihood is extremely low we’ll have any concerns come to the surface.”

Just this month, the EPA rejected a petition from CropLife America that would have changed aspects of the agency’s Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program in an effort to reduce the costs and time requirements associated with the new testing. But Vroom said the EPA indicated in its April 3 letter that it would take into account several industry concerns, including leaving open the possibility of sometimes using computer modeling rather than relying exclusively on laboratory animal testing.

“That’s an encouraging sign,” he said, adding that it appeared the agency would be willing to lower the number of lab animals required for testing.

Linda Birnbaum, who directs the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program, said the program represents “a more organized way to look at” how human exposure to pesticide chemicals could affect such things as bone growth and brain development.

“This is a good beginning,” Birnbaum said, adding that scientists need to examine how different hormone disruptors might interact or accumulate in the human body. “It’s very important to know: Can certain chemicals, especially chemicals that are out there that people are exposed to, impact our hormone system?”

Although researchers have observed the most visible effects of these chemicals in animals, Birnbaum said it is likely that some humans, depending on their particular sensitivity, could experience similar problems.

“I think it’s unrealistic that humans are going to be immune,” she said, adding that the studies need to determine dosage, “how much of these chemicals do you need for cause and effect?”

Linda Phillips, who manages the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program, said that it will take about two years to obtain data from the two-tier program, and that it then could take the agency another year to make a final determination about the chemicals’ effect on hormone disruption.

Vroom said pesticide manufacturers are “very confident our products will come through with flying colors.” He added: “If we do learn something about our products that raises a cause for concern, our industry will be at the table, ready and willing to step forward and take action to mitigate risk.”