Lecture Series

Improving the Environment
for Our Children’s Health

An extraordinary four-part lecture & dialogue series
featuring internationally distinguished medical and environmental experts

From November 2002 through May 2003, LocalMotion hosted four lectures. Each lecture is available on video casette tape. If you are interested in a tape, please contact us.

Motherhood and the Environment

Dr. Sandra SteingraberNovember 6, 2002

Luncheon and Evening Lecture
Please RSVP for Luncheon lecture by October 28

At LocalMotion’s first lecture series Dr. Steingraber spoke of cancer as a human rights issue, urging that precautions be taken to prevent environmental causes of the disease. On her return visit, she will explore our very first environment: the womb. Drawing on her latest book, Having Faith: an Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood (2001), Dr. Steingraber will reveal the extent to which environmental hazards now threaten each crucial stage of infant development.

Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D, ecologist, author, and cancer survivor, is an internationally recognized expert on the environmental links to cancer and reproductive health. In 1999, as part of international treaty negotiations, she briefed United Nations’ delegates in Geneva, Switzerland on dioxin contamination of breast milk. She also served on President Clinton’s National Action Plan on Breast Cancer. Dr. Steingraber received her doctorate in Biology from the University of Michigan and master’s degree in English from Illinois State University. In her speaking and writing, Dr. Steingraber examines the tapestry of her life – and ours – with a scientist’s clarity and poet’s lyricism. Having Faith “ought to be read by every expectant parent and by every medical student,” said Michael McCally, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Community and Preventive Medicine, Mount Sinai School of medicine, New York.

“We need to remind everyone-friends, neighbors, and political leaders-that all toxic chemicals capable of accumulating in the human food chain will, sooner or later, reach their highest concentrations in the milk of human mothers.”
-Sandra Steingraber

Children’s Environmental Health

DR. Ruth EtzelJanuary 27, 2002

Dr. Ruth Etzel is a pediatrician, epidemiologist and an internationally-recognized expert on the effects of hazardous chemicals in the environment. She was appointed to Governor Engler’s Michigan Environmental Science Board in 2000 to establish children’s environmental health standards in Michigan. Both Dr. Etzel and Dr. William Weil, the only two medical doctors on the seven-member board, dissented strongly from the final report stating it did not sufficiently protect children’s health.

Dr. Etzel is the editor of the groundbreaking American Academy of Pediatrics’ Handbook of Pediatric Environmental Health (1999) and a Professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. For the past 20 years, Dr. Etzel’s research has focused on the effects of indoor and outdoor air pollutants on children’s health. One of the country’s top experts on sick schools, she has received numerous research awards, including the prestigious Arthur S. Flemming Award, for her discovery of the link between moldy home environments and acute lung bleeding in infants. Dr. Etzel earned a medical degree from the University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Handbook of Pediatric Environmental Health

The only comprehensive guide to the identification, prevention, and treatment of pediatric environmental health problems.

Environmental hazards are among parents’ top health concerns for their children. Doctors, many of which are eager to adress these concerns, have not received the necessary training to recognize and treat ailments resulting from exposure to harmful substances and environments. More than 30 chapters cover prevention and treatment of hazards, including asbestos, radiation, UV rays, pesticides, pollution, lead, tobacco, electric and magnetic fields, noise, food contaminants, and more.

Let’s be Honest about Prevention: Why the Standard Approaches to Protecting Children’s Health Need to Change

DR. Devra Lee DavisApril 9, 2003

“Environmental contamination is never listed as the cause of death on anyone’s death certificate.”
 –Devra Lee Davis, Ph.D.

At LocalMotion’s first lecture series world renowned epidemiologist Dr. Devra Lee Davis spoke on breast cancer and the environment, advising us to be “better safe than sorry.” She returns to share with us a very moving and deeply troubling story as portrayed in her new book, “When Smoke Ran Like Water: Tales of Environmental Deception and the Battle Against Pollution.” It is the sum of her life’s work to date. Many people, like John Topping, the President of the Climate Institute, are calling it “simply the best book on the environment since Silent Spring….”

Dr. Davis documents the shocking toll of avoidable environmental pollutants today-and asks why we remain silent. She shows how environmental toxins contribute to a broad spectrum of human diseases, including breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and emphysema. And she tells us, in sharp detail, “How the game is played,” the behind-the-scenes suppressions of crucial environmental facts and the silencing of innovative environmental researchers.

The story is very personal to Dr. Davis. Pollution is what killed some of her family members and forced the others, survivors of the 1948 smog emergency in Donora, Pennsylvania, to live out their lives with damaged health. She vividly describes that episode and also makes startling revelations about how the deaths from the London smog of 1952 were falsely attributed to influenza. In her lecture, Dr. Davis will make a compelling case that our approaches to public health need to change.

Dr. Davis is currently a visiting professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinze School, and Cornell Medical Center. She is Senior Advisor to the World Health Organization. President Clinton appointed Dr. Davis to the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board. Author of over 170 articles, her work has appeared in publications ranging from Scientific America to the Journal of the American Medical Association and The Lancet. Dr. Davis completed a Ph.D. in science studies at the University of Chicago and a M.P.H. in epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University.

What You Can Do Here and Now: Creating a Healthy Community.
Roundtable Discussion by Leading Exemplars of the Craft

May 6, 2003

Facilitator: Lana Pollack is President of the Michigan Environmental Council, a coalition of 63 member groups – representing nearly 200,000 Michigan residents – working to protect Michigan’s natural resources and promote healthy environments. From 1982 to 1994 Ms. Pollack served in the State Senate as a representative from Washtenaw County where she became a leading advocate for the environment and children. On October 30, Ms. Pollack was inducted into the 2002 Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame “for over 25 years as an advocate and leader for women, children and the environment.”

Debra Lynn Dadd is a consumer advocate, consultant and author, well known for her acclaimed book Home Safe Home (1997). In 1980 she was diagnosed with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and was told there was no cure other than removing all toxic chemicals from her home. Finding no literature on the subject she set about writing a book on non-toxic household products, and in the process healed herself and countless others. Ms. Dadd is currently writing a new series of books under the working title of Living as Nature.

Michael Harbut, MD, MPH is Director of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine in Southfield, Michigan. He is internationally known in his specialty. Dr. Harbut is a medical advisor to local, state, and national groups on issues such as the dangers of arsenic in drinking water and asbestos-related disease. Dr. Harbut believes that talking to patients about environmental hazardous should be an integral part of a medical practice, as routine as talking to patients about the dangers of second-hand smoke or the necessity of car seats for children.

Shelley Petrie is the Executive Director of the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA). Ms. Petrie founded TEA’s Water Campaign in 1999, initially supporting the adoption of a tough Sewer-Use Bylaw in Toronto — restricting the release of toxic industrial chemicals into city sewers and Lake Ontario. Before joining TEA, Ms. Petrie worked with Greenpeace Canada for three years. She worked to defeat a proposal to site a hazardous waste incinerator to destroy PCBs in a low income and industrialized neighborhood.