The Colloborative on Health and the Environment -- Washington

Biweekly Bulletin
December 3, 2008

These bulletins are archived and searchable on the CHE-WA website: If you would like to join the Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE) and the CHE-Washington regional group, please complete the application on the CHE website: Joining CHE means receiving up to four email messages a month from the CHE National listserv. CHE costs nothing to join and the benefit is shared information and opportunities for further engagement, if you choose. Be sure to mark that you want to join the Washington State Regional Group at the bottom of the application.

Companion bulletins are available for different audiences:

While there is overlap with this bulletin, there are some events and announcements unique to those bulletins.


New Members. CHE-Washington welcomes these new members:

For a searchable database of organizations with which CHE-WA members are affiliated, please visit the CHE-WA website:


1) CHE Partnership Call -- Growing Danger: Pesticides, Other Agricultural Exposures, and Cancer

Tuesday December 9, 2008
1:00 p.m. Eastern time, 10:00 a.m. Pacific time

Sponsor: Collaborative on Health and the Environment

Do the people who grow and harvest America's food -- and the many others exposed to harmful substances used in agriculture -- face a special risk of cancer? Overall cancer incidence and mortality rates are low among farmers relative to the general population, but studies of farming populations routinely reveal elevated risk for several specific types of cancer. Some farm workers face disproportionate exposure levels to various chemicals. While a variety of substances either created by or used in agriculture may increase cancer risk -- including solvents, fuels, nitrates in fertilizers, and engine exhaust -- the bulk of research to date has focused on pesticides. Farmers and farm workers are not the only ones exposed to these substances. Join us for a call featuring speakers from the recent President's Cancer Panel hearing on agriculture and cancer: Dr. Tyrone Hayes, Heather Logan and Dr. Marion Moses.

Price: free


2) Teleconference -- Ethical Decision Making in Times of Public Health Catastrophe

Tuesday December 9, 2008
noon - 1:00 p.m. Pacific time

Sponsor: Northwest Center for Public Health Practice

People understand their own moral principles, usually intuitively and without much question. When serious disaster or disruption occurs and the world as we know it changes drastically, we learn that the way we see the world is not necessarily shared by others, even by loved ones or close coworkers. But if we discuss the principles behind our world views before catastrophe strikes, we can be better planners and decision makers during crisis situations.

Price: free


Contact: NWCPHP, 206-685-1130 or

3) Teleconference -- Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units: A Resource for the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Community

Tuesday December 9, 2008
2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Eastern time

Sponsor: The Environmental Health Initiative of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, the John Merck Fund

There are 12 pediatric environmental health specialty units (PEHSUs) in the US, Canada and Mexico. In the US, there is one unit in each of the 10 regions of the country designated by the US EPA. The goals of the units are to disseminate information about children's health and the environment and to consult with those who have questions about known or suspected environmental impacts on the health of individual children or a group of children. This teleconference will describe the PEHSUs in detail and will focus on case presentations involving concerns about 1) neurotoxicants, 2) specific cases involving individuals with intellectual or other developmental disabilities, and 3) community-level partnerships.

Price: free


Contact: Laura Abulafia,

4) Webinar -- Urban Trees=Clean Air

Thursday December 11, 2008
1:00 - 2:30 p.m. Eastern time

Sponsor: National Arbor Day Foundation, US Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program, and Center for Chesapeake Communities

This two-part event will explore the importance of addressing air pollution and how trees can improve urban air quality. The speakers will present examples of innovative strategies that use tree planting to address air quality issues and build healthier communities. Topics are "Health Impacts of Air Pollution" and "Tree Planting: An Innovative Measure in State Air Quality Planning."

Price: free


Contact: Lisa Tilney,

5) Introduction of the World Report on Child Injury Prevention

Thursday December 11, 2008
2:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Seattle, Washington
at the University of Washington, Hogness Auditorium

Sponsor: Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, the University of Washington Department of Global Health

After three years of international research and collaboration, the World Health Organization and UNICEF will release the World Report on Child Injury Prevention in December 2008. This landmark report, edited by an international group of experts, including Dr. Fred Rivara of the University of Washington, focuses on preventing child injuries and deaths caused by burns, drowning, road traffic crashes, falls and poisoning in low-and middle-income countries. Worldwide, injury is a leading cause of death for children. This forum will provide an overview of children's injuries worldwide, and discuss new strategies for action. Featured speakers will include international injury experts from Bangladesh, Ghana, Mexico and the US, joined by representatives from the World Health Organization, and UNICEF.

Price: free, but advance registration is required

Contact: Hyun Rae, 206-744-9430 or

6) Testing Toys for Toxics

Saturday December 13, 2008
10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Eugene, Oregon
at the Science Factory, 2300 Leo Harris Parkway, south of Autzen Stadium

Sponsor: Oregon Toxics Alliance and the Science Factory

Bring new children's gifts, including toys, jewelry, backpacks, and more to the Science Factory to be tested for levels of 8 different dangerous chemicals. New children's products only, please. Two gifts to be screened, per adult, are included with $4 admission to the Science Factory. Science Factory members are free. Additional items can be tested for $2 each. Kids are welcome to accompany you, and we will take precautions to help keep your gift a surprise to them.

Price: $4 for admission and first two items


Contact: Jennifer Bell at the Science Factory, 682-7888

7) The MTCA 101 Workshop: Introduction to the Model Toxics Control Act (WAC 173-340)

Wednesday December 17, 2008
8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Lacey, Washington
at the Lacey Community Center, 6729 Pacific Avenue SE

Sponsor: Northwest Environmental Training Center

The objective of this one-day workshop is to introduce environmental consultants; federal, state and local government staff; and members of the general public to Washington's Model Toxics Control Act (WAC 173-340). This workshop will provide an overview of the MTCA administrative requirements and the associated cleanup standards. Participants will also learn the MTCA remedy-selection process and public involvement requirements. Both instructors have a deep and thorough understanding of MTCA and will set aside time to answer questions at the end of each topic.

Price: $250, $195 for Native American tribes; nonprofits; government; students; teachers; and NAEP, NWAEP, and NEBC members



8) Training/Teleconference -- Seminars in Toxicology for Public Health: Toxic Responses of the Kidney

Wednesday December 17, 2008
12:00 - 1:30 p.m. Eastern time
Atlanta, Georgia
at the CDC/ATSDR Chamblee Building 106, Room 4A, 4770 Buford Highway Northeast

Sponsor: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Division of Health Assessment and Consultation and Division of Toxicology and Environmental Medicine

Dr. Williams will discuss the underlying mechanism that results in nephrotoxic effects from environmental contaminants. Specific topics for this discussion include overview of the kidney, pathophysiologic responses of the kidney, toxic injury to the kidney/nephrotoxicity, specific nephrotoxicants, and assessment/tests of nephrotoxicity. The training will be both in-class and net conferencing. Continuing education credits are available.

Price: free, but participants must register online at


Contact: Erin Dopfel, 781-674-7229 or

9) Webinar -- Urban Trees=Clean Air

Thursday December 18, 2008
1:00 - 2:30 p.m. Eastern time

Sponsor: National Arbor Day Foundation, US Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program, and Center for Chesapeake Communities

This two-part event will explore the importance of addressing air pollution and how trees can improve urban air quality. The speakers will present examples of innovative strategies that use tree planting to address air quality issues and build healthier communities. Topics are "The Great Clean Air Tree Planting Project" and "Climate Change Plan for the National Capital Region."

Price: free


Contact: Lisa Tilney,

Online Calendar. Upcoming events extending more than one month in the future are listed in a searchable calendar:


Most of the articles below come from Environmental Health News,

Job opening: Oregon. Climate Solutions seeks a field representative based in Oregon, preferably Portland, who will coordinate efforts to engage and mobilize people to advocate for the 1Sky solutions policy platform and cutting-edge state and local climate policy that Climate Solutions has helped to pioneer. The Field Representative will work in coalition with a diverse set of concerned groups, businesses, individuals, and communities to demonstrate dramatic public support to address global warming at the scale of the problem. The position closes on Monday December 15th. For more information, contact Conner Sharpe, director of finance and administration at

Job opening: Portland, Oregon. The Portland Development Commission is currently seeking to complement its workforce with the addition of a Lead Grant Program Coordinator. This position is within the Housing Department and reports to the Neighborhood Housing Program Manager. Monday, November 24, 2008.

Job opening: Washington, DC The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), a nonprofit public interest international environmental law firm, is seeking a staff attorney. Applications are due no later than December 15, 2008. Sunday, November 23, 2008.

EPA seeks public comment on proposal to add hazardous pharmaceutical waste to universal waste rule. To help provide a streamlined system for disposing of hazardous pharmaceutical waste that is protective of public health and the environment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to add hazardous pharmaceutical waste to the Universal Waste Rule. Saturday, November 29, 2008.

Smoke from fireplaces can cause health woes. Pollutants spewing from a chimney can be annoying and lead to worsening respiratory problems for neighbors. Symptoms of ill effects from wood smoke are eye, nose and throat irritation, headache, nausea, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, shortness of breath, and dizziness, health officials say. The Arizona Republic. Tuesday, December 02, 2008.

Lifestyle may link depression and heart disease. The long-standing connection between depression and heart problems might be traceable to the fact that depressed people are less physically active than others, a new study of heart patients shows. Science News. Tuesday, December 02, 2008.

Research links epilepsy drug to autism. Pregnant women taking the Sanofi-Aventis epilepsy pill Epilim may raise their child's risk of developing autism. Reuters. Tuesday, December 02, 2008.

Another pesticide linked to diabetes. A common pesticide [tributyltin] used to kill pests on food crops, boats, wood and textiles could be causing diabetes, according to new research by Japanese scientists published in Bioscience. The Daily Green. Tuesday, December 02, 2008.

EPA to curb medical emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency moved yesterday to curb pollution released by medical waste incinerators, ending an 11-year battle over how to best regulate the emissions. Washington Post Tuesday, December 02, 2008.

Media bombardment is linked to ill effects during childhood. A detailed report of nearly 30 years of research from the National Institutes of Health and Yale University found strong connections between media exposure and problems of childhood obesity and tobacco use. Washington Post. Tuesday, December 02, 2008.

Accidental child poisonings still a major problem. Despite safety advances in product packaging, tens of thousands of U.S. preschoolers visit the emergency room each year for accidental poisonings from medications, supplements and household products, researchers reported Monday. Reuters Health. Tuesday, December 02, 2008.

Cheap food may bring next health crisis. Almost a quarter of the average American's food is imported. But increasingly, imports are from developing countries that do not meet U.S. standards regarding sanitation, worker safety, environmental practices, quality of ingredients and treatment of animals. Sunday, November 30, 2008.

Heavy traffic can be heartbreaking. The decline in highway traffic that was brought on by last summer's spike in gas prices may be a boon to heart health. That's because automobile emissions are among a long list of risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Sunday, November 30, 2008.

Bush aides rush to enact a safety rule Obama opposes. The Labor Department is racing to complete a new rule, strenuously opposed by President-elect Barack Obama, that would make it much harder for the government to regulate toxic substances and hazardous chemicals to which workers are exposed on the job. New York Times. Sunday, November 30, 2008.

Green scene: it's time to dish the dirt on dry-cleaning. The normal method of dry-cleaning involves drenching your clothes in a liquid called perchloroethylene (known in the trade as 'perc'). So toxic is this chemical that the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States considers it to be both a health and environmental hazard -- and it is a known carcinogen. London Daily Mail, United Kingdom. Sunday, November 30, 2008.

Levels of lead in venison sparking debate. On the eve of deer hunting season, the most common tool used to kill deer is under inspection. Recent studies show that people who eat deer killed with lead bullets ingest the substance into their blood - leading some to consider copper bullets as an alternative. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pennsylvania. Sunday, November 30, 2008.

12 reasons to really quit smoking. Tobacco use, namely cigarette smoking, is the chief cause of preventable death in the United States. The reasons to do so keep amassing -- and they're not all about heart disease, lung cancer, or respiratory problems. US News & World Report. Saturday, November 29, 2008.

Children's jewelry has excessive levels of lead. Health Canada says excessively high levels of lead have been found in a line of jewelry for children called Mood Chain. Canadian Press. Saturday, November 29, 2008.

Secondhand toys shouldn't mean sacrificing safety. Secondhand toys shouldn't mean sacrificing safety. Consumer safety advocates warn that buyers should be cautious when considering buying secondhand toys because they might have been recalled or banned for dangerous defects or toxic materials. Charleston Post and Courier, South Carolina Thursday, November 27, 2008.
[Editor's note: See related articles about toy safety and recalls:, and ]

EPA Launches probe into formaldehyde emissions from wood products. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday announced an investigation into formaldehyde emissions from pressed-wood products. Dow Jones Newswires. Wednesday, November 26, 2008.

Avoid the dangers of pollution when weatherizing your home. With global warming and energy consumption becoming ever present issues, more people are now choosing to weatherize their homes; what is often neglected are the steps that should be taken to minimize the dangers from pollution sources inside homes. Canada East, New Brunswick, Canada. Wednesday, November 26, 2008.

FDA finds traces of melamine in US infant formula. Traces of the industrial chemical melamine have been detected in samples of top-selling U.S. infant formula, but federal regulators insist the products are safe. Associated Press. Wednesday, November 26, 2008.
[Editor's note: See a related article about the Canadian response: ]

Lifestyle changes can carry over to good pregnancy. From exercise to diet, having a successful pregnancy requires expecting moms to make some lifestyle changes to keep them and their babies healthy. Great Falls Tribune, Montana. Tuesday, November 25, 2008.

Lead warning: Christmas lights present danger for children. According to a Cornell environmental analyst, many Christmas light sets contain lead levels in excess of limits set by the U.S. EPA. Ithaca Journal, New York. Tuesday, November 25, 2008.

Navigating the MSG maze. Some studies link MSG to obesity. Others tie it to migraines. And there are those who blame MSG for behavioral problems in children or attention-deficit disorder. Chicago Tribune, Illinois. Monday, November 24, 2008.,0,5016885.story

Environmental pollutants linked to raised cardiovascular disease mortality rate. Dioxins are likely to increase ischemic heart disease and cardiovascular disease mortality rates, according to a new study. Asian News International, South Asia. Sunday, November 23, 2008.

When not to flush. Drugs were not designed to be spewed into streams and lakes, spread atop crop fields as part of a sludge-based soil amendment or buried in dirt (to ultimately be washed into groundwater). Yet huge quantities of these and related personal-care products unwittingly end up in the environment. Science News. Sunday, November 23, 2008.

Health threat from beauty parlours. A scandal of second-rate care in parts of the beauty industry has been revealed today by health and safety officials, who have even highlighted cases of women suffering with paralysis of the face, burnt scalps and lost fingernails. Sunday, November 23, 2008.

Climate change may boost exposures to harmful pollutants. A review of studies projecting the impact of climate change on air quality, including effects on morbidity and mortality, indicates that adverse health effects will likely rise with changes in pollutant creation, transport, dispersion, and deposition. Science Daily. Saturday, November 22, 2008.

Green hospitals. Critics say hospital buildings and food are enough to make you sick. Today there's a growing movement in health care to get hospitals to green their facilities and it's transforming the medical community. Living On Earth. Saturday, November 22, 2008.

Preservative in beauty products may pose health risk. Could parabens used in many beauty products be a potential health risk? Seattle King 5 TV, Washington. Saturday, November 22, 2008.

Why ports are a health concern. Poisonous fumes, as well as soot, from ships and trucks can have deadly effects on the people who live and work near ports. Columbia State, South Carolina. 22 November 2008. Saturday, November 22, 2008.

Too many asthmatic kids breathe smoke: Report. A "distressingly high" proportion of inner-city children with asthma are exposed to cigarette smoke at levels that could be harming their health. Reuters Health. Saturday, November 22, 2008.

Children at risk in food roulette. American children with food allergies are suffering life-threatening -- and completely avoidable -- reactions because manufacturers mislabel their products and regulators fail to police store shelves, a Tribune investigation has found. Chicago Tribune, Illinois. Saturday, November 22, 2008.,0,506031.story

Toxic contamination starts at home: study. When women from 120 middle-class homes learned their bodies contained low levels of toxic chemicals, most of them blamed chemical spills, waste dumping or secret military experiments. They were stunned to learn the truth was closer to home. Canwest News Service, Canada Friday, November 21, 2008.

Hairspray linked to birth defect. Pregnant women exposed to hairspray in the workplace more than doubled the risk of having baby boys with hypospadias, a genital defect. BBC, United Kingdom. Friday, November 21, 2008.
[Editor's note: Read a related journal article: ]

UAA study says gasoline in garage creates health hazard. University of Alaska Anchorage researchers say there may be a health hazard right in your own garage. Anchorage KTUU TV, Alaska. Friday, November 21, 2008.

New research from China indicates that a part of the brain that controls short-term memory and learning is smaller in workers who were exposed to lead while at work and had high levels in their blood. The study suggests that people who work with the heavy metal may develop subtle brain changes that could increase their risk of neurological disorders. Thursday, November 20, 2008.

FDA panelists back safety of antibiotic to treat "superbugs," despite pregnancy risks. Federal health advisers on Wednesday said an antibiotic developed by Theravance appears safe and effective for fighting "superbug" bacteria, despite potential risks for pregnant women. Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, Minnesota. Thursday, November 20, 2008.

Use of antipsychotics in children is criticized. Powerful antipsychotic medicines are being used far too cavalierly in children, and regulators must do more to warn doctors of their risks, a panel of experts said. New York Times. Wednesday, November 19, 2008.

Dentists say urgent action needed to prevent 'infectious' tooth decay in kids. The Ontario Dental Association considers tooth decay an infectious disease and research shows fluoridated drinking water reduces incidences of cavities in children. Canadian Press. Wednesday, November 19, 2008.

Bug bombs don't just kill pests. Last month, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study the agency says is the first look at pesticide poisoning incidents related to bug bombs. Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Washington. Wednesday, November 19, 2008.

Dangers of asbestos highlighted. The dangers of exposure to asbestos have been highlighted in a campaign by the Health and Safety Executive. BBC, United Kingdom Wednesday, November 19, 2008.