Archive for January, 2010

Toxic Childhood: The Unique Effects of Chemicals on Our Children


Event Co-Chairs
Emory University
invite you to an
the second in a series of presentations
on children’s health issues
Toxic Childhood:
The Unique Effects of Chemicals
on Our Children
Phil Landrigan, MD
Wednesday, February 24
12-2 p.m.
Registration begins at 11:30 a.m.
Marriott Marquis

Imperial Room
265 Peachtree Center Avenue Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30303

$50 per person
Join us and learn what you can do
to promote healthy families, homes and communities.
by Friday, February 17,2010
or call 404.727.5713
Host Committee
Natalie Allen
Yetty Arp
Wendy Babchin
Tucker Berta
Ginny Brewer
Kysha Cameron
Captain Planet Foundation, Ira Blumenthal
Merry Carlos
Carolyn Carr
Joanne Chesler Gross
Marianne Clark
Jane Codner
Felecia Davis
Dr. Gerald Durley
Flourish, Rusty Pritchard
Dr. Nancy Gallups
Jennie Garlington
Lauren Gearon
Georgia Watch, Angela Speir
Jacque Hamilton
Nan Haverty
Alyson Hoag
Roya Irvani
Kerri Izard
Ayesha Khanna
Marilyn Krone
Caroline Leake
Amanda Leesburg
Donna Lefont
Vikki Locke
Leslie McLeod
Morehouse School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics
Mothers & Others for Clean Air, Rebecca Watts Hull
Carolyn O’Neil
Audrey & Frank Peterman
Lewis Perkins
Dawn Randolph
Meg Reggie
Clare & Nigel Richardson
Michaeline Roland
Barbara Roos
Anne Sapp
Susan Beallor-Snyder
Turner Foundation, Mike Finley
Kimmy Umphenour
Susan Wasserman
Kelly Willett & Debbie Hurd
Rep. Joe Wilkinson
Shawn Wilson

Save the Date: Our next lunch is Tuesday, April 27.

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About Phil Landrigan

P Landrigan

Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., M.Sc., the Ethel Wise Professor and Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine, is a pediatrician, epidemiologist, and internationally recognized leader in public health and preventive medicine. He has been a member of the faculty of Mount Sinai School of Medicine since 1985 and Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine since 1990. Dr. Landrigan is also the Director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center.

Dr. Landrigan graduated from Boston College in 1961 and from Harvard Medical School in 1967. He completed an internship in pediatrics/medicine at Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital and a residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Boston. In 1977, he received a Diploma of Industrial Health from the University of London and a Masters of Science in Occupational Medicine degree from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He then served for 15 years as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer and medical epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). While at CDC, Dr. Landrigan served for one year as a field epidemiologist in El Salvador and for another year in northern Nigeria. He participated in the Global Campaign for the Eradication of Smallpox. Dr. Landrigan directed the national program in occupational epidemiology for NIOSH. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal of the US Public Health Service.

In 1987, Dr. Landrigan was elected as a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He served as Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine and Editor of Environmental Research. He has published more than 500 scientific papers and 5 books. He has chaired committees at the National Academy of Sciences on Environmental Neurotoxicology and on Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children. The NAS report that he directed on pesticides and children’s health was instrumental in securing passage of the Food Quality Protection Act, the only environmental law in the United States that contains explicit provisions for the protection of children. From 1995 to 1997, Dr. Landrigan served on the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veteran’s Illnesses. In 1997-1998, Dr. Landrigan served as Senior Advisor on Children’s Health to the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and was instrumental in helping to establish a new Office of Children’s Health Protection at EPA. From 2000-2002, Dr. Landrigan served on the Armed forces Epidemiological Board. Dr Landrigan served from 1996 to 2005 in the Medical Corps of the United States Naval Reserve. He retired in 2005 at the rank of Captain. He continues to serve as Deputy Command Surgeon General of the New York Naval Militia, New York’s Naval National Guard.

Dr. Landrigan is known for his many decades of work in protecting children against environmental threats to health, most notably lead and pesticides. His pioneering research on lead toxicity at low levels persuaded the US government to mandate removal of lead from gasoline and paint, actions that have produced a 90% decline in incidence of childhood lead poisoning over the past 25 years. Dr. Landrigan has been a leader in developing the National Children’s Study, the largest study of children’s health and he environment ever launched in the United States. He has been centrally involved in the medical and epidemiologic studies that followed the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. He has consulted extensively to the World Health Organization.
In the News

Dr. Landrigan and his work were recently profiled in The Daily News feature The Daily Check Up. View the PDF.  Read the commentary by Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc, “What’s Getting Into Our Children?” that appeared in the New York Times on August 4, 2009.

Pregnant Women and Families with Young Children Warned About Bisphenol A (BPA)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health

January 28, 2010                                              Contact: William Gerrish

(860) 509-7270

Pregnant Women and Families with Young Children Warned About Bisphenol A (BPA)

Baby Bottles, Plastic Containers and Canned Food Can Contain Chemical

Hartford – The Connecticut Departments of Public Health (DPH) and Consumer Protection (DCP) are advising pregnant women and families with young children to be aware of dietary sources of bisphenol A (BPA) and to minimize these exposures where possible.  This advisory is a follow-up to last week’s statement from the  U.S.   Food and Drug Administration in which a concern was raised for BPA effects on the developing fetus and infants.

“There still remains considerable uncertainty about BPA’s health effects,” stated DPH Commissioner J. Robert Galvin.  “Given the potential for health risks, it’s prudent to prevent exposure in children.  The recently passed law which bans BPA from certain children’s products in  Connecticut will not take effect until next fall, however, there are simple ways to decrease exposure to this chemical.”

“Manufacturers have been proactive on this issue for many new products, but consumers should be aware that older manufactured products may likely contain BPA,” DCP Commissioner Jerry Farrell, Jr. said.  “For example, rather than reusing older baby bottles, consumers may consider replacing these with glass or newer products.”

BPA is a chemical used in certain types of baby bottles, plastic storage containers and the lining of canned food.  Tiny amounts can migrate from the packaging and contaminate the food or liquid.  BPA is an endocrine disruptor which acts like estrogen in the body and some studies suggest it can cause abnormal development and promote cancer and obesity.  The concern is highest for babies in the womb and shortly after birth.  The data on BPA health effects are controversial and more research is planned.

Pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and infants can decrease BPA exposure by taking the following steps:

  • Choose breastfeeding over bottle-feeding.
  • If you bottle-feed your baby:

o       Use BPA-free baby bottles

o       Consider powdered rather than liquid formula, unless recommended to use liquid formula by your doctor.

o       For those who pump breastmilk, be sure to store it in BPA-free containers.

  • Limit your intake of canned food and drinks – choose fresh foods whenever possible and also choose frozen or dried foods over canned foods where possible.
  • Do not microwave food in plastic containers – BPA has been found to leach out of a variety of plastic containers, even some that are “microwave safe”.
  • Avoid drinking out of hard clear plastic (polycarbonate or PC) water bottles. Stainless steel and glass drinking vessels are BPA-free.
  • Do not use plastic drinking or food storage containers that are scratched.

Last year, the  Connecticut legislature passed Public Act 09-103 banning BPA from baby bottles, infant formula cans and reusable food containers beginning October 1, 2011 (the legislation allows for existing products to remain on the shelves until 10/1/2012.)

For additional information on BPA:

The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website or call (860) 509-7270.

Mehmet Oz on The Poisons in our Food

The EWG published this great article on filtering your home tap water!

Confused about whether you need to filter your tap water? And how to do it?

We all know that drinking plenty of good, clean water is important for a healthy body. Learn how to stay hydrated while cutting down on your exposures to common drinking water pollutants.

Singer Raffi opens “Centre for Child Honouring” on remote B.C. island

By Lisa Cherry Cherniak (CP) – Copyright © 2010 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

SALTSPRING ISLAND, B.C. — One of Canada’s most popular children’s singers, Raffi Cavoukian, is also an author and a recipient of the Order of Canada and the UN’s Earth Achievement Award.

But the 60-year-old singer says his legacy will be “The Centre for Child Honouring”, which he officially opened this weekend on British Columbia’s idyllic Saltspring Island.

“This is a dream come true for me,” Cavoukian said Sunday, choking back tears as he asked those in attendance to take a moment of silence for those affected by the earthquake in Haiti.

The facility is described as a “training hub” where children’s developmental needs will be up for discussion. Everything from nutrition to the environment and psychological needs will be addressed and everyone from parents to world leaders will be invited to attend and teach.

“To partner with organizations worldwide, to change the way we think about the very youngest amongst us – that’s the heart of the centre,” said the singer, known to his legion of little fans simply as Raffi.

The house the centre will call home was donated for at least two years by an anonymous couple on the island. Toxic Free Canada, a group campaigning to ban pesticides, is also a partner.

Dr. Daniel Scott, director of the University of Victoria’s School of Child and Youth Care, said that given the rate of child poverty in Canada, “raising the profile of children is important; acknowledging their place in our communities and culture is vital.

“We do not live in a child-friendly society and anything we can do to change that is a useful contribution.”

The singer said that among the issues he’ll try to address at the centre is work toward creating a ban on direct advertising to children.

“A national ban would be a great step forward and I look forward to working on it,” said Cavoukian, who is a resident of the island located between mainland B.C. and Vancouver Island.

Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center at New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine, says the centre is one-of-a-kind.

“The unique feature is that it places the well-being of the child at the centre of society,” says Landrigan, a board member. “The Centre argues that all structures of modern society should be organized to protect children, to enable them to grow up healthy and reach their full potential.”

Former B.C. lieutenant governor Iona Campagnolo is patron of the centre.

“Children bring out the best in all of us, and to break the barriers we have as people, we have to regard everyone’s children with respect and support,” she said at the opening.

Disturbing News About Cadmium in Children’s Toys

Cadmium New Fear in Kids’ Trinkets
NEW YORK, Jan. 12, 2010 – CBS News
Scares surrounding lead in child toys remain fresh in consumers’ minds. And now, concern is now on the rise over another toxic metal — cadmium.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has launched an investigation into the jewelry over levels of cadmium in kids’ jewelry.

“Early Show” consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen notes that Wal-mart, the nation’s largest retailer, is taking some products containing cadmium off its shelves.

Manufacturers have been barred from using lead in children’s products, such as toys and jewelry, Koeppen points out. And a new Associated Press investigation shows cadmium, an inexpensive, dangerous metal known to cause cancer, is being substituted for it.

Dr. Philip Landrigan, of the Department of Preventative Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, told CBS News, “It’s a nasty toxic metal and, in my opinion, has no place no children’s toys — none.”

The Associated Press bought more than 100 pieces of children’s jewelry made in China and sold at Wal-mart and other retailers around the country. Twelve percent of the trinkets contained at least 10 percent cadmium, but Disney’s “Princess and the Frog” pendants came in between 25 percent to 35 percent cadmium. In a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer charm, the level was 91 percent.

Dr. Jeffrey Weidenhamer, professor of chemistry at Ashland University, in Ashalnd, Ohio, called it “appalling” to find cadmium at those levels in products designed for children.

He added, “There’s recent research indicating that it can cause learning disabilities and permanent loss of I.Q.”

Liz Hitchcock, a consumer advocate with U.S. PIRG, an consumer advocacy group, says, “It’s outrageous that an industry that’s been told that it can no longer use a toxic chemical like lead in products turns to another toxic chemical, cadmium, a known carcinogen, to use in the same products.”

As part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, cadmium in paint is banned from children’s toys, but the law doesn’t address cadmium in jewelry, which is how these trinkets are reaching the market.

The CPSC issued a statement, saying the agency is now moving swiftly to prevent foreign manufacturers of children’s jewelry from substituting high levels of cadmium and other heavy metals in place of lead. The CPSC, Koeppen observes, is also investigating the jewelry cited.

Hitchcock said, “American manufacturers, whether they make their product in Bayonne (N.J.) or Beijing, have a responsibility to keep toxic substances out of the hands of our children.”

Koeppen added on “The Early Show” that Disney says it requires all its products to be tested and, says the “Princess and the Frog” necklaces were shown to be in compliance with all current safety standards.

Koeppen says the CPSC has suggested in the past that parents not purchase any metal jewelry for their kids.

International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety (ICEMS)

On of GOC’s committee members has asked me to post this informative website –  ICEMS. The International Commission on Electromagnetic Safety advises safer use of cell phones for kids and pregnant women. It contains a lot of pertinent and topical information. Check it out!

The International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety (ICEMS) is a non-profit organization that promotes research to protect public health from electromagnetic fields and develops the scientific basis and strategies for assessment, prevention, management and communication of risk, based on the precautionary principle

The Precautionary Principle

The Precautionary Principle states, when there are indications of possible adverse effects, though they remain uncertain, the risks from doing nothing may be far greater than the risks of taking action to control these exposures. The Precautionary Principle shifts the burden of proof from those suspecting a risk to those who discount it.

A Greening Our Children meeting attendee sent me this important link. I think it’s very informative.

Less Cancer provides solutions to prevent cancer causing exposures known to have powerful impacts on the environment, economy and on human health to include preventing, heart disease, asthma, and diabetes. Through education and information, Less Cancer is a solutions-based catalyst for change.

Capt. Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation first discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch-an endless floating waste of plastic trash.

Watch this and weep. We need to be aware of the destruction of everyday plastics.