Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New Solutions:


Will Allen, Growing Power Inc (Growing Food in the Community) Was featured in NY Times (very tall)
Alan Greene, MD, Stanford Univ of Medicine
Kenneth Cook, Environmental Working Group (major policy advocate)
Jeanne Rizzo, RN, Breast Cancer Fund (Focuses on the environmental causes of breast cancer)

Will Allen: Everyday is earthday! Wants us to remember - Its all about the soil. If we grow healthy soil, we grow healthy food. His talk is over. Psyche. 86% of consumers say they want locally grown food. Slides: Bought last remaining farm in Milwalkee Wisconsin inb 1993. Shows pictures of kids then, comments that they look different than kids today, cause pants were pulled up. LOL! Kids were involved with building farm, composting, gardening, using tools, reading, planting in communities, transformed vacant lots. garden art. Multicultural, multigeneration organization, led by people of color. Grow food year round. Works with juvenile offenders. Really doing a lot of compost and different kinds of food waste. Does a lot of training on composting. Does a lot with vermiculture (worms). Shows a slide with people holding lots of worms. Sell their worm composting product for $4. Food waste converted into cash. Also has fish farms. Lake perch and tilapia. Markets to areas with food deserts. Uses hot compost to keep greenhouse warm. 60% of people involved in small scale agriculture, under age 40. Also using food waste via methane to generate electricity. Solar panels used. Water collection system, recycled into fish farm and plant watering. Also, has animals, goats,chickens, turkeys, bees. Works with the blind, planting for 20 plus corporations, the city (city hall has a garden), asphalt gardens for seniors, just opened up a retail store... this man is AMAZING. School gardens, rooftop gardens in the city, in Chicago has four farms including Grant Park - intensive gardening. Mr. Allen just received a standing ovation! I'm teary eyed. Oh my goodness!

Alan Greene, MD

I'm still high on Will Allen. Let me focus. Okay, he is talking about about environmental cues on genes development. Pesticides - impact on mental development of children, obesity. Body works with women in pregnancy to avoid certain chemicals and desire specific types of foods. How do chemicals get in body? Routes: Mom's mouth, on skin and air we breath. Air - We can make a big difference with little changes. Biggest pollution is in our homes- open windows and doors, houseplants (top ten), choose wisely, avoid products with fragrance if not essential oils. Skin - do a complete makeover of all the products you use, go to to check out it's safety. Mouth - Avg American eats 150 pounds of food additives per year. Did you know that endangered species zoo animals eat only organic food. Watch food containers. A study shows that by increasing intact of good healthy foods can significantly reduce amounts of toxins. Raw food yeah! Changing food habits can be difficult. Babies learn food habits via imprinting. Is that why my son associates me with cookies? Children are our canaries in the coal mine. If we are seeing rapid increases in changes with our kids health, we must consider environmental impact. The Safe Chemicals Act, dependent on TOSCA reform (see Lisa Jackson comments). Again, women are being called out to initiate change. $58B a year spent on environmentally caused illnesses.

Ken Cook

Says that this is one of the most important environmental conferences in the world. We have recently started studying pollution in the developing fetus. (shows a slide of a fetus with beating heart). Average of 200 chemicals found in core blood. Studying ten babies of color, African American, Hispanics, Asian American, a total of 382 chemicals found in those babies.  We should ask ourselves, are these chemicals safe? There can be health impacts at low exposures, despite what some chemical industry officials state. Uses examples of effectiveness of low dosages of certain medicines to counter that statement.Including Cialis, Albuteral, Paxil, Nuvareen. Gives examples of warning labels of some of these drugs. Very funny. Small exposures can matter. MORE LISTS! About the same as others. EWG has so many guides for shoppers. Go to to get these guides. Says that men need to be brought along on these issues. We need Toxic Chemicals Reform. See Lisa P. Jackson. We should assume that chemicals can cause harm, require public disclosure of health and safety studies. We can make this happen. Shows a poster from the 50's bragging about "More Doctors Smoke X Brand than any other cigarette!". Gives examples of bans of lead, DDT.

Jeanne Rizzo, RN

1992 a 42 year old woman diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, started the Breast Cancer Fund to find out if environmental causes were behind her disease. She died years later, but her work lives on.
Asks people to call out the names of friends, family members that have died or are dealing with this disease. There are several pieces of legislation in Congress right now, dealing with this disease. (Didn't know this). Primary Prevention - Preventing disease in the first place, before it starts. An absolute public health imperative. We need to take precautionary information on how to protect the environment to avoid disease. Reduce periods of most vulnerable times of exposures. Need to understand how mixtures of chemicals matter, science is trying to catch up with the realities of our complex daily lives. What can we do? Shop for safe cosmetics, use our wallets and social networks. Natural products industry is growing like crazy for these reasons. The industry is listening. Lipstick, face paint,shampoo. Call for the passage of the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010. Federal Toxic Toys Act result of strong science and thousands of letters from parents going to Congress. We need to be mindful of old furnishings and toys, as they are filled with these toxic chemicals. BPA - avoid canned foods. This was originally designed to be a hormonal agent. Look for the label - BPA Free. The Banned Poisonous Additive Act - just introduced by Senator Feinstein. We need to support. The FDA governs these types of substances. Food Substance Contact - we need to pay attention to this category. Fragance - a dirty word? Clorine bleach mimics estrogen. (did not know that). Goodbye Tilex. Household Cleaning Ingredient Disclosure - another pending piece of legislation. Ionizing Radiation - CT Scans, X rays really need to be discussed with doctor, because there are serious impacts. So I guess if you have had cancer related radiation treatments you just SOL. More reasons to eat raw to offset all of that negative energy.


How do we do that in our city? Where do we get the resource?
Will Allen trained over 1000 communities last year, eight regional training centers. Engage the community first to get them onboard. May have to wait a year to develop relationships with waste providers. (complimented the conference organizers for their waste collection efforts). Collect your waste and bring to urban farms, they really need it. They are competing against waste collectors.  He says we need to get started, quotes the First Lady and says "Lets move!"

Is outdoor air really not as bad as indoor air pollution?
Yes. Offset this with good nutrition, calcium and vitamin D, air out your home, houseplants

Where are the gaps/weaknesses in changes being made?
A lot of fatigue from advocates over the last decade. We need to get up and get going again.
Gaps in public will to address these issues.
Need to create projects that are perceived to be assets to the community.
Conversation about endocrine disruptors, very unhealthy, prevalent in many products
Medical profession - look for a doctor that looks at the whole person, asks questions about chemicals you are exposed to.

How do we responsibly get rid of these toxic products in our homes?
Lots of hesitation on this question. No good answers.
Solution is green chemistry, green design.
Minimize waste. Reuse. Use whats left of personal care products, replace with safer products.
Contact local solid waste district.

Asks the audience to consider the following:

Raise hands in response to anyone whose family has been touched by breast cancer, diabetes, learning disabilities, prostate cancer. Almost everyone raised their hands at least once. Let's get out there and leverage the new science and policy initiatives to change this situation.

Theresa Heinz, event funder and breast cancer survivor, says that today unlike in the past, we can see an opening for solutions, we have choices, information. Talks about teens 12-15 year old in Pittsburgh with breast cancer.A 15 year old that lost their mom because she couldn't afford a mammogram. This is awful!
There are lots of well meaning people out there that will fight you tooth and nail, perhaps young mothers and grandmothers in this group might be reachable. First time she has heard an EPA administrator say the things that Lisa P Jackson, said today. Says that the system in Washington isn't working, so we need to make things happen.

Okay, the conference is officially over. Back to Cleveland to spread the news!

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