Wed, 21 April 2010
Many of the presentations so far could be depressing, as speakers detailed the chemical and pollution soupd we are constantly bathed in.
But this session is all about hope, and what action we can take to make a difference.
Listen to the panel here, which includes:
Alan Greene, MD
I think I'll get some worms for my kitchen!
Category:Health & the Environment -- posted at: 10:05 AM
Wed, 21 April 2010
Pete Myers started this session with a dramatic reading of the Rubber Ducky song. Poetry in action!
He introduced the two authors of "Slow Death by Rubber Ducky: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things," Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie.
Their presentation, and their book, answers the question, "How did this stuff get in me?"
Category:Health & the Environment -- posted at: 9:16 AM
Wed, 21 April 2010
She starts by talking about being named one of the most powerful Moms in America. Says the audience will be the powerful women -- and it will be women -- to clean up our environment.
Chemicals are everywhere. In our environment and in our bodies. 287 chemicals were found in the cord blood of 10 infants tested. It starts before birth.
We aren't doing enough to make sure the chemicals that surround us are safe. Manufacturers don't have to show that existing chemicals are safe. Companies have no legal obligation to do testing on new chemicals. The burden of proof is on the EPA.
Since 1976 EPA has issued regulations to control 5 chemicals -- out of 80,000. Even our asbestos ban was overturned because EPA hadn't complied with all the requirements -- despite our legacy of deaths and disease from that asbestos.
EPA needs the tools to do the job the public should expect.
Test all chemicals old and new and make sure they are safe
Require manufacturers to prove safely
EPA and industry must consider more vulnerable populations (kids)
EPA must have authority to take action to protect health
We must encourage innovation in green chemisty, to make them safer and better
EPA's safety assessment work must be properly funded.
People are calling for strong regulations of chemicals. Last week, legislation was introduced to strengthen and expand our toxic substances law.
Some states are moving forward, because the Feds haven't. Some manufacturers are supportive, knowing that surety and safety are good for the industry.
Common ground exists among EPA, manufacturers, and the environmental community. We need to work from that common ground to make the changes to the law happen.
But we need everyone's help. This will be hard work. Please join us in this work, and make the world safer.
Category:Health & the Environment -- posted at: 8:55 AM
Wed, 21 April 2010
Trust me, I can never do this panel justice. These are amazing people:
Julia G. Brody, PhD
Beverly Wright, PhD
Listen for yourself here.
Category:Health & the Environment -- posted at: 7:03 AM
Wed, 21 April 2010
Dr. Benjamin is telling everyone how one person can make a difference. She discussed how she worked to get the AMA to require teaching of STD (sexually transmitted disease) diagnosis and treatment -- when she was an intern!
She served in a very poor community in Louisiana. There she learned about how other factors can harm your health. For instance, she discovered one patient who couldn't manage her medications and treatment program because she couldn't read. Obviously, providing literacy programs will improve health.
Another patient was in severe pain but couldn't fill her pain prescription because she couldn't afford her copay. Dr. Benjamin got her the medicine but inadvertently stripped her of her dignity. Dr. Benjamin also discovered that this patient was frequently exposed to harmful chemicals, but she was committed to her work at a local school, trying to make the world better for kids.
Talking to patients she realized that they were concerned about many environmental problems. They worried about whether the air they breathed was clean. They wanted paths and sidewalks so they could walk safely. The local shrimpers were fouling the water, but just a simple action, providing a way to avoid the practice, made all the difference and cleaned up the water.
She said she left her practice reluctantly, but looks on as opening a new practice in DC, with 300 million new patients.
Giving everyone the right to health insurance was a giant first step, she said. But now we need to move from a sick care system to a well care health system.
Prevention is the key, and there is a strong verbal and financial commitment to wellness in the Obama Administration.
There is lots of evidence that people's health improves when they move out of polluted areas. But we can't move everyone, so we have to stop the pollution, she said.
"Let me emphasize what Mrs. Heinz said. We have to take care of ourselves. Just like in airplanes, put your own facemask on first, then help others."
See the conference live online.
Category:Health & the Environment -- posted at: 6:33 AM
Wed, 21 April 2010
She's a worldwide activist. Philanthropist. Chair of the board of The Heinz Endowments. And one of Pittsburgh's biggest boosters. And a woman living with breast cancer, as so many women are.
What a brave woman. She is candidly and openly talking about her life with cancer, and how she coped.
She didn't have any symptons. But the medical tests - a mammogram and an MRI - discovered not one, but two. That's why she feels so strongly about providing these tests to women worldwide.
She's talking about how to navigate the most difficult relationship -- the one every woman has with her own well-being.
She had cancer -- stage one, but invasive -- in one breast. Then they discovered cancer in situ in the other breast.
She said the time before the diagnosis was her terrible horrible no good very bad year. She had a series of accidents with broken bones, and much international travel, and even more stress. Then came the diagnosis.
She had more than one surgery. The surgeon had to go back in to find some cancer that was missed in the first surgery. Between the two surgeries -- on the way to the hospital -- she fell and broke her heel and had a concussion. The aftermath of the concussion was far worse than the aftermath of the second surgery. Her doctor urged her to exercise, but she couldn't because of the vertigo, nausea and disorientation from the concussion.
She had targeted radiation twice a day on both breasts for a week. That also had serious problems, and her back gave out afterwards.
"When the sky falls in, it really does."
She is starting on tamoxifen tomorrow.
So the lesson. How did I get to this? How do you manage it all? How does a single mother with 3 kids do it?
I don't have answers for others. I'm still figuring it out for myself. And the first thing I've done is learn to say no.
How did I get cancer? It isn't in my family. One thing I know, I used a lot of sunscreen that had estrogen in it. I used it on my skin.
And I had active breasts (great name, she remarked!). Could they then do needle biopsies before anything is diagnosed and find out if you are at risk because of high estrogen and other factors?
My interest is in prevention. That's why we do these conferences. I asked many questions of all my doctors. Some had differing opinions. In the end, you have to make your own decisions, and that's very hard.
You have to be smart. Take care of yourself. (If you don't, you can't take care of anyone else.) Take time to do what you need for you. Stretching, yoga, walking. All help. Go to yoga and you'll thank me forever.
The doctor let me look at my cancer. It looked like pastina, and there was a little curlycue. Amazing.
My memory, my sight, and my hearing still aren't right. I hope they come back.
Human health is totally linked to our environment. Especially the chemicals we've added to the environment. Stress impacts our health.
But most important, ask questions. A doctor who doesn't have time to answer your questions shouldn't be your doctor.
Be sensitve and fearless. Know that we can't do all the work to get healthy and stay healthy. But it can be done.
My surgeries were easy. I wasn't disfigured. I didn't have to have chemotherapy. But it was still tough.
We must monitor what we put in our bodies, what we put on our skins, what's in our water, the air we breathe -- hello Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh has about the worst air quality in the nation.
It's unnecessary and dangerous to all of us, and we must find and mandate control over the sources of our air pollution.
Eliminating pollution is a win win win solution. Kids that our healthy. Less cancer.
That's been my year. I am definitely to the hip interconnected with the world. I've learned a lot. And my husband is paying more attention.
Try it you (and he) might like it.
See the conference live online
Category:Health & the Environment -- posted at: 5:41 AM
Wed, 21 April 2010
What a great event! More than 2000 women and men of quality gathered together to learn about cutting edge research on women's health and the environment, ready to take action to make the world a better place.
Stay tuned. They are now introducing Teresa Heinz, the creator and inspiration for this conference.
Category:Health & the Environment -- posted at: 5:31 AM
Fri, 9 April 2010
On April 6, 2010 PennFuture's Federal Policy Manager Joy Bergey hosted a Webinar for Congressional staff members and clean energy businesses focused on how enacting new federal energy policies will create more good-paying, non-exportable jobs in Pennsylvania and nationally.
A leader among states, Pennsylvania enacted the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act in 2004 and passed an energy savings mandate requiring energy conservation (Act 129) in 2008. These forward-thinking policies have already created thousands of new jobs for Pennsylvanians. The Webinar exlpored how enacting a federal Renewable Energy Standard (RES) and Energy Efficiency Resources Standard (EERS) would stimulate economic growth and job creation here at home, in short order. An RES and EERS would also save consumers money on their energy bills, reduce our dependence on imported oil, and cut pollution. The webinar presenters come from companies who already have added jobs in Pennsylvania who spoke directly to the benefits that federal legislation would deliver. Presenters were:
PennFuture supports a comprehensive, three-pillar approach to federal climate and energy policy, including a strong cap on heat-trapping pollution emissions that are causing global warming; developing new renewable, clean energy production that will shift our economy away from fossil-fuel dependence; and requirements for energy conservation and efficiency that will help save consumers money and create a host of new domestic jobs. To learn more about our work, and to join our efforts, visit our Web site.
To download any of the presentations from this Webinar, see our Cool Pennsylvania pages.