2010: Environmental Health Highlights of the Year

For our last CHE partner call of the year, we have decided to invite three national leaders to highlight what they think have been the top two or three research studies, reports, policy actions, seminal events, etc. in environmental health and justice in 2010—and why. We would also like to invite YOU to send in your thoughts on what have been prominent highlights or turning points (positive or challenging) during this past year and why. To offer your contributions, submit a comment to this post. Depending on time, we will try to mention some of your ideas on the call in addition to those of our presenters. We will also hold at least 20 minutes at the end of the call for questions and comments.

The call with be Wednesday December 8th
3:00 p.m. Eastern/Noon Pacific
Visit the call page on the CHE website.

We look forward to your participation.


6 thoughts on “2010: Environmental Health Highlights of the Year

  1. Hi All,
    For me, one of the highlights of the year from our CHE perspective was the release of the President’s Cancer Panel report in May. It surprised us by how strong it was and how it reflected the hard work that many in the CHE network had put in during the preliminary meetings. I thought the report validated the approach Michael Lerner has urged us to pursue over the past several years. The question remaining, of course, is what will come of the report and its recommendations in the current political climate. That will be our next challenge, and I look forward to Ted, Pete and Peggy’s comments on this during the Dec. 8 call.
    Have a good Thanksgiving.

  2. One of the stunning reversals on environmental policy and information was that of the US Centers for Disease Control re: indoor mold exposures. In early 2010, CDC’s new director, Dr. Thomas Frieden, approved and implemented new information on their http://www.cdc.gov/mold website that decreed indoor dampness and mold to be threats to public health, and particularly children, citing, in numerous instances, specific findings of the WHO Guidelines to Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould (2009). The Center for School Mold Help directly lobbied CDC to change their information, starting in Sept. 2009, by Feb. 2010, this was accomplished. Previously, CDC had insisted that indoor mold was merely an allergen and harmful only to the immuno-compromised and those allergic to mold. This was a major turn-around, with a ripple effect still occurring, as WHO has determined that there is SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE FOR AN ASSOCIATION between exposure to indoor dampness and development of (new) asthma, a significant public health problem at epidemic proportions.

  3. Why, the Children First Symposium at UCSF in October, co-hosted by CHE, of course!

    I’m hoping that this model of integrating broad-based stakeholders, from health care to education to policy-makers and so on, will help us confront the complex challenges we face trying to help our kids and our planet be as healthy as possible.

  4. The release of the NNI 201p strategic plan and related 2009 budget proposal to the president were an eye opener and a clear indication that we must engage heavily in the production and use of nanotechnology products. There is still an opportunity to implement precauionary principles within R&D and production; prevent and control waste from engineered nanoparticles; and ensure product stewardship is built into the industry very soon. Similarly, we need to pay attention to the biofuel industry, including the potential for transgenic algae impacts as R&D and production creates unintended consequences from this emerging industry

  5. There has been lots of compelling research published in 2010 that its hard to pick just one top study. What has struck me most this year (and perhaps the last few years) is the wealth of research being published which are filling in the gaps we have had in our arguments for environmental health. We have long been working with the sound theory that widespread exposure to toxic chemicals is having a significant negative impact on human health. And we have based this theory largely on animal studies, basic tenets of chemistry and biology and good common sense, Finally, it feels like, the empirical human data confirming our suspicions is really starting to roll in. Like the study showing that the people of Denmark have significantly higher body burdens of endocrine disrupting chemicals than Finland – which may explain the much higher rates of testicular cancer and hypospadias seen in Denmark. The remarkable CHAMACOS study in California found that higher exposure to PBDEs in women did indeed correlate to a longer time to pregnancy. A new analysis on NHANES data by A. Calafat showed that women and non-Hispanic blacks do have a disproportionate exposure to parabens – which seems to be explained by greater exposure to consumer products containing these chemicals. None of these studies are necessarily that surprising (or news-getting) on their own – of course we expected these results. But its nice to finally have an ever-increasing body of data on humans, showing that our concerns of toxic chemical exposure are justified.

  6. A highlight for the year is evidence linking embryonic/fetal exposures to later health and developmental effects. Research on epigenetic alterations from exposure alone, or from exposure in combination with other factors. Some of these conditions are found at increasing prevalence in the population. The work toward the development of rapid screening tools for developmental and reproductive toxicology is important also .

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