The Colloborative on Health and the Environment -- Washington

Biweekly Bulletin
August 13, 2008

These bulletins are archived and searchable on the CHE-WA website: http://washington.chenw.org/bulletins.html 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: http://www.healthandenvironment.org/application 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.


Clearinghouse of training resources. CHE-WA is pleased to provide a new service to our members: a searchable clearinghouse of environmental health training resources available in Washington State. This clearinghouse was supported by a grant from the Washington Tracking Network, a CDC-funded program working to improve the availability and interpretation of environmental public-health information.

This clearinghouse includes not only in-person and online trainings, but also materials from presentations to posters that our members may want to use when conducting their own trainings. Users can search by the type of resource, the target audience and/or the location of the resource.

To access this clearinghouse, use the "Resources" navigation tab at the top of any CHE-WA website page or follow this link: http://www.chenw.org/cgi-bin/training.cgi

Please contact Nancy Snow, our research and communications manager, if you would like us to be aware of any environmental health training materials and events that you have available: nsnow@iceh.org

New policy statement seeks signatories. The Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative (LDDI), a national working group of the Collaborative on Health and the Environment, invites you to sign our newly-drafted policy consensus statement on environmental agents associated with neurodevelopmental disorders. This policy statement is based on the scientific consensus statement that LDDI published earlier this year and details specific policy initiatives to be taken to protect children from exposures that may contribute to learning and developmental disabilities and autism.

To sign the statement, you need to provide your name, credentials and affiliation (please note that we request signers who have a stated organizational affiliation). The policy statement, the scientific statement, and the signature form for the policy statement are all available on the LDDI website: http://www.iceh.org/LDDI.html Signatures are requested by Monday September 1st.

If you have any questions regarding the statement, please contact primary author Steve Gilbert, PhD, DABT, at sgilbert@innd.org or Nancy Snow, MS, at nsnow@iceh.org. Thank you for considering signing.

July conference call recording online. An audio recording is now posted of the July 15th conference call, Human Fertility and the Environment: Looking at Links in both Women and Men. You can access the recording on the CHE-WA meetings page: http://www.washington.chenw.org/meetings.html

Master Home Environmentalist Program volunteer training. The American Lung Association of Washington's (ALAW) Master Home Environmentalist Program volunteer training will start September 9th. It meets every Tuesday evening for 10 sessions including two Saturdays. Trainings are held at the ALAW office at 2625 Third Avenue, Seattle, 98121, from 6:30 9:00 p.m. For more information please contact Casey Coulombe at 206-441-5100 or ccoulombe@alaw.org


1) Global Heating: Real, Rapid, and Redressable

Wednesday August 13, 2008
6:00 p.m.
Seattle, Washington
at University Friends Meeting, 4001 9th Ave NE

Sponsor: Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility

Join us for a presentation and discussion on global heating, the solutions to both our climate crisis and our energy crisis, and what you can do to be a part of creating a sustainable US energy future. This presentation particularly focuses on renowned energy expert Dr. Arjun Makhijani's groundbreaking research, Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for US Energy Policy, the first analysis of a transition to a US economy based completely on renewable energy, without any use of fossil fuels or nuclear power. Dave Hall, MD, is a tireless activist campaigning for a peaceful, healthy, and sustainable world. Light refreshments will be served.

Price: free

Website: http://www.wpsr.org/calendar/

Contact: Idil Levitas, 206-547-2630 or idill@wpsr.org

2) Teleconference -- Hot Topics Session: Salmonella: Was It the Tomatoes?

Tuesday August 26, 2008
noon - 1:00 p.m. Pacific time

Sponsor: University of Washington Northwest Center for Public Health Practice

The presenter will be Mack Sewell, DrPH, MS, state epidemiologist with the New Mexico Department of Health Office of Epidemiology.

Price: unknown

Website: http://www.nwcphp.org/training/hot-topics

3) Webinar -- How to Write Your Winning IAQ TfS Award Application

Wednesday August 27, 2008
3:00 - 4:00 p.m. Easters time

Sponsor: US Environmental Protection Agency

Participants will learn about the Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools (IAQ TfS) Awards Program, how to translate your successful IAQ management program into an award winning model, and the process and components of previous award-winning applications. Speakers will be Jennifer Lemon of the US Environmental Protection Agency, Indoor Environments Division, and Past IAQ TfS award-winning programs.

Price: free

Website: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/591975066

4) Teleconference -- Children's Health and Environmental Pesticide Exposures

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

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

Dr. Elizabeth A. Guillette will review pesticides and their action and suggested impacts on adults. She will then focus on the impacts on the neuromuscular and neuromental deficits found in the Yaqui Valley children and the meaning of these impacts to society.

Price: free

Website: http://www.ehinitiative.org/Projects/tele_con.htm

Contact: Laura Abulafia, Laura@aaidd.org

5) The Body Toxic: How the Hazardous Chemistry of Everyday Things Threatens Our Health and Well-being

Monday September 8, 2008
7:30 p.m.
Portland, Oregon
at Powell's downtown bookstore

Sponsor: Powell's Books

Join author Nena Baker for this book reading. In The Body Toxic, investigative journalist Nena Baker explores the many factors that have given rise to the dizzying array of chemical contaminants we are exposed to -- from manufacturing breakthroughs to policy decisions to political pressure to the demands of popular culture. While chemical advances have helped raise our standard of living, making our lives easier and safer in many ways, there are costs to these conveniences that chemical companies would rather consumers never knew about. Baker draws back the curtain on this untold impact and assesses where we go from here.

Price: free

Website: http://www.thebodytoxic.com/events.html

6) Toxics, Public Health & the Environment Conference

Friday September 12, 2008
8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Portland, Oregon
at the World Trade Center

Sponsor: Environmental Law Education Center

Topics include 1) federal & state policies & laws addressing toxics, 2) proposed legislation for the 2009 legislative session, 3) municipalities' responses, 4) water quality standards & fish consumption, 5) comprehensive chemical reform, 6) pesticides & pharmaceuticals, 7) recent research on toxics & public health, and 8) what approach should we take in addressing toxics?

Price: $450 early registration through August 29th, $495 after, with discounts for government and nonprofits

Website: http://www.elecenter.com/agenda_2008-09-12.htm

Online Calendar. Upcoming events extending more than one month in the future are listed in a searchable calendar: http://www.chenw.org/cgi-bin/searchevents.cgi


Most of the articles below come from Environmental Health News, http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/

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: http://washington.chenw.org/members.html

Job opening, Portland, Oregon. The Oregon Environmental Council (OEC) is seeking a community outreach manager to lead a variety of outreach projects that help individuals live green and to assist their program staff in mobilizing the public in support of public policies that protect the environment. The primary area of focus will be a suite a projects that help parents and caregivers protect children from exposures to toxic pollution. In addition, this position will build OEC's citizen activist networks and organize citizens in support of legislation that slows global warming and reduces toxins in our environment. Future outreach projects may support OEC's other strategic goals. Applicants should submit a cover letter, resume and an example of a communication piece you have developed by September 3rd.

New Continuing Education modules from ATSDR. The United States Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has issued four new continuing education modules to increase the primary care provider's knowledge of hazardous substances in the environment and to aid in the evaluation of potentially exposed patients. Continuing medical education (CME) for physicians, continuing nursing education (CNE) for nurses, continuing education units (CEU) for other professionals, and continuing education contact hours (CECH) for certified health education specialists (CHES) are offered in support of this series. The four new topics are 1) Beryllium Toxicity, 2) Cadmium Toxicity, 3) Tetrachloroethylene Toxicity, and 4) Taking an Exposure History.

EPA's National Fish Advisory Program website. The new Fish Kids website uses interactive stories and games to teach kids from eight to 12 years of age about contaminants in fish and fish advisories.

Nominations sought for the Board of Scientific Counselors. The National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (NCEH/ATSDR) of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is soliciting nominations for possible membership to its Board of Scientific Counselors. This Board provides advice and guidance to the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, the director of the CDC and the director of NCEH/ATSDR, regarding program goals, objectives, strategies and priorities in fulfillment of the agencies' mission to protect and promote people's health. The Board provides advice and guidance to help NCEH/ATSDR work more efficiently and effectively with its various constituents and to fulfill its mission in protecting America's health. Nominees will be selected from experts having experience in preventing human diseases and disabilities caused by environmental conditions. Experts in the disciplines of toxicology, epidemiology, environmental or occupational medicine, behavioral science, risk assessment, exposure assessment, and experts in public health and other related disciplines will be considered. Consideration is given to representation from diverse geographic areas, gender, ethnic and minority groups, and the disabled. Members may be invited to serve up to four-year terms. Nominees must be US citizens. he following information must be submitted for each candidate: name, affiliation, address, telephone number, and current curriculum vitae. E-mail addresses are requested if available. Nominations should be sent, in writing, and postmarked by October 31, 2008, to Sandra Malcom, Committee Management Specialist, NCEH/ ATSDR, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway (MS-F61), Chamblee, Georgia 30341. Telephone and facsimile submissions cannot be accepted.

New funding opportunity from EPA's Global Change Research Program. The US Environmental Protection Agency's Global Change Research Program is seeking applications proposing research to better understand the interactions of climate change, air pollution regulatory programs, greenhouse gas mitigation policies, and efforts to adapt to a changing climate, and how these interactions affect air quality.

Wood may be cheap, but cost to air quality may be high. With heating oil prices rising, more residents are turning to wood as a primary heat source for the winter ahead. While wood may be cheap, the cost in air quality may be high. North Andover Eagle Tribune, Massachusetts, 12 August 2008.

Lead may lurk in backyard gardens. As backyard vegetable gardens undergo a renaissance, environmental officials and scientists are warning homeowners to be careful before planting: There might be lead in the soil. Boston Globe, Massachusetts, 11 August 2008.

Lejeune water contamination bill could force EPA to establish standard. A bill prompted by water contamination at Camp Lejeune could force the Environmental Protection Agency to establish a public water standard to limit trichloroethylene (TCE). Jacksonville Daily News, North Carolina, 11 August 2008.

Dow's dioxins. Two rivers downstream of Dow Chemical's plant in Midland, Mich., are polluted with dioxins. Dow has cleanup work to be done. Everyone agrees on that. But not much else. This saga of pollution, politics, and struggle over cleanup has nationwide implications. Chemical & Engineering News, 11 August 2008.

Industry fights effort to ban baby product chemical. State officials and scientists are criticizing a chemical-industry campaign, saying its ads are misleading and designed to scare consumers into keeping products that could harm children on the market. Orange County Register, California, 10 August 2008.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome a largely overlooked problem. It is the leading preventable cause of mental retardation and birth defects in the US. Researchers estimate that one in 100 children may be affected by some type of the disorder, making it more common than autism. Frederick News-Post, Maryland, 10 August 2008.

No matter what flame retardant is used, it shows up in the environment. Another chapter has been added to the troubled history of flame retardants. The latest compounds used to reduce the risk of fire have been found in household dust for the first time. Toronto Globe and Mail, Ontario, 9 August 2008.

Clean home could give child asthma. A study suggests that women who clean vigorously during pregnancy and when their children are young may be leaving them more vulnerable to asthma. London Daily Express, United Kingdom, 8 August 2008.

Dental experts defend fluoride in water; activists claim link to brain damage. Canadian dental experts defended the use of fluoride in drinking water Thursday as some environmental activists claimed international studies show the chemical can cause brain damage in children and called for an end to the "60-year experiment." Canadian Press, 8 August 2008.

Elevated cancer risk found in city. Residents of a broad swath of South Seattle face elevated cancer risks because of air pollution, a soon-to-be released government study finds. The risks are significantly elevated in pockets of industrial pollution -- and skyrocket near highways. Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Washington, 8 August 2008.

S&S Foods of Azusa recalls frozen beef after E. coli outbreak. A California food company is recalling 153,630 pounds of frozen ground beef after an E. coli outbreak shut down a Boy Scout camp in Virginia this week and sickened at least 22 people, health officials said Thursday. Los Angeles Times, California, 8 August 2008.

Toxins linger even in clean laundry. Scientists are beginning to realize the chemical ingredients used in traditional detergents are full of toxins that harm both people and the environment. Galveston County Daily News, Texas, 8 August 2008.

Monsanto looks to sell dairy hormone business. The move comes as more retailers, saying they are responding to consumer demand, are selling dairy products from cows not treated with the artificial hormone. New York Times, 7 August 2008.

Broccoli cuts diabetic risk of heart disease. Researchers believe a compound in broccoli could reverse the negative effects of diabetes on the heart. Edinburgh Scotsman, Scotland. 7 August 2008.

EPA continues work to understand potential impacts of pharmaceuticals in water. Today, EPA is seeking comment on an Information Collection Request (ICR) that will be used in a detailed study of unused pharmaceutical disposal methods by hospitals, long-term care facilities, hospices and veterinary hospitals. EPA is seeking more information on the practices of the health care industry to inform future potential regulatory actions, and identify best management and proper disposal practices. EPA Newsroom, 6 August 2008.

Lead found in two brands of imported candy. Health officials issued a warning Tuesday about two types of candy from Mexico and Malaysia that are laced with lead and could cause severe medical problems. San Jose Mercury News, California, 6 August 2008.

Agent Orange exposure doubles veterans' likelihood of getting prostate cancer. Veterans exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange are twice as likely to get prostate cancer as other veterans, UC Davis researchers found in a study published online by the journal Cancer. Sacramento Bee, California, 5 August 2008.

Environmental justice in action. During Richmond's recent public hearings on expansion plans for the Chevron refinery, Dr. Henry Clark was there to speak on the potential health consequences of the project on residents around the oil processing facility, particularly people in disadvantaged communities. Contra Costa Times, California, 5 August 2008.

Kids more vulnerable to swimming-related illness. Children age 10 and younger are more likely than older kids and adults to be sickened by swimming in bacteria-contaminated water, researchers from EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. Reuters, 4 August 2008.

Report: Cold medicine could be life-threatening for babies. A "surprising" number of small children taken to the emergency room after they stop breathing or lose consciousness have over-the-counter cold medications in their systems, according to the authors of an article in today's Pediatrics. USA Today, 4 August 2008.

The cell tolls for thee. When Vini Khurana, PhD, an Australian neurosurgeon, announced that the link between cell-phone use and cancer was irrefutable -- the result of his analysis of more than 100 studies -- it set off alarm bells around the world. MSN, 4 August 2008.

Dying to be beautiful! Are your beauty products killing you? You expect the food you buy to be safe, and there are huge public outcries when it isn't, yet the same stringent standards are not universally applied to cosmetics companies. Daily Mail, United Kingdom, 4 August 2008.

Get ready to itch and sneeze. A warmer planet could mean we'll suffer more (and stronger) allergies. The impact of global warming and increased CO2 on allergies is being studied by government agencies, scientists and doctors. Newsweek, 3 August 2008.

Cleaning up the house. What you can't see could make you sick. While much environmental debate is over how fast the ice caps and forests will disappear, the great indoors look more likely to get to you first. Newsweek, 3 August 2008.

Congress sends Bush bill banning lead in toys. The Senate on Thursday passed and sent to the White House legislation that bans lead from children's toys and seeks to ensure that chemicals posing possible health problems will not end up on toys and articles that kids chew on and play with. Associated Press, 2 August 2008.

US inquiry claims 'safe' insecticides cause health problems. A class of insecticides derived from flowers -- long believed to be environmentally safe -- is in fact causing significant human health problems in the US, according to an inquiry released today by public-interest campaigners. London Guardian, England, 2 August 2008.
[Editor's note: read the report at http://www.publicintegrity.org/investigations/pesticides/ ]

Bad air can boost blood pressure. Breathing smog-soaked air has been found to raise blood pressure levels in a new study confirming a direct link between air pollution and hypertension. Edmonton Sun, Alberta, 2 August 2008.

Few rules on nanotech. As questions continue to grow about nanotechnology's potential dangers, so do concerns about how the small stuff should be regulated. Living On Earth, 2 August 2008.

Bills target perchlorate, set standard. The federal government may have to set a drinking water standard limiting a common inland contaminant if a U.S. Senate committee gets its way. Redlands Daily Facts, California, 1 August 2008.

Cement kilns release 2 times more mercury than EPA thinks. Cement plants release more than two-times as much toxic mercury as the EPA estimates, according to a study by two watchdog groups. The Daily Green, 1 August 2008.

Study shows smoke's effect on air quality in bars. Marathon County health officials have said all along that Wausau's restaurant-only smoking ban is insufficient to protect public health and now they say they have the data to prove it. Wausau Daily Herald, Wisconsin, 1 August 2008.

Oregon accounts for 40 million pounds of herbicides, insecticides. After a nine-year political scrum, Oregon released its first accounting of pesticide use Wednesday, cataloging more than 40 million pounds of 551 fumigants, herbicides and insecticides applied in 2007. Portland Oregonian, Oregon, 31 July 2008.

Sleuthing for precursors to drinking-water treatment byproducts. A breakdown product of a pesticide widely used in Germany becomes a human carcinogen during ozonation in water-treatment processes, researchers find, raising issues for future toxicity testing. Environmental Science & Technology, 31 July 2008.

Producing usable materials from e-waste. New technologies being developed in China and Eastern Europe may create usable materials from e-waste. Developing such technologies is challenging because of the toxicity of many electronics components. Environmental Science & Technology, 31 July 2008.

5 tips to increase your cell phone safety. "I hope you're talking to me on a speakerphone," Devra Davis barks at me when I call her on my cell phone. "You'd better not be holding that phone up to your head." Cell phones do emit radiation. No one knows definitively whether it's enough to worry about. CNN, 31 July 2008.

Is a dangerous pesticide sprayed near your home? A pesticide used to kill insects on farm fields across the United States -- diazinon -- has the OK of the federal government, but a coalition of farmworkers and environmentalists is suing to stop the use of the chemical. The Daily Green, 31 July 2008.

Carcinogen worries stick to food packaging. The packaging of many products contains a chemical that the EPA considers potentially carcinogenic and wants businesses to voluntarily stop using by 2015. Los Angeles Times, California, 30 July 2008.

Feds: Synthetic turf OK, kids 'not at risk' from lead exposure. Young children are "not at risk from exposure to lead" in artificial turf fields, according to a nationwide evaluation of the surfaces by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. USA Today, 30 July 2008.

Pre-pregnancy diabetes tied to more birth defects. Diabetic women who get pregnant are three to four times more likely to have a child with birth defects than other women, according to new government research. Associated Press, 30 July 2008.