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The Collaborative on Health and the Environment – Northwest

A Partnership Network for Environmental Health

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Northwest Children's Environmental Health Forum

Visit a searchable database for more information on every topic covered in the 2009 Northwest Children's Environmental Health Forum.


Collaborative on Health and the Environment/Institute for Children's Environmental Health

Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County, Washington

United States Environmental Protection Agency

Washington State Department of Ecology's Toxic Free Tips Program

People for Puget Sound

Public Health – Seattle & King County

Change Your Food - Change Your Life!

Institute of Neurotoxicology and Neurological Disorders Toxipedia

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Healthy Homes

Washington State Department of Health, Office of Environmental Health & Safety

The Organic Table

PCC Natural Markets

North American Hazardous Materials Management Association

Seattle Children's

Columbia Gorge Organic


Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington

Click on any logo to visit the sponsor's website.

forum logo

October 1-2, 2009
Tukwila Community Center
Tukwila, Washington

Forum Summary

CHE-WA's working group on Children's Environmental Health was thrilled to host more than 300 participants at its Northwest Children's Environmental Health Forum October 1-2, 2009, in Tukwila, Washington. A diverse audience participated, including healthcare providers, students, scientists, policy makers, elected officials' staff, children's advocates, local citizens and more. Elise Miller, national director of CHE, opened the event with a speech emphasizing the importance of scientific research on the environmental factors impacting our children's health and intellectual potential. Ted Schettler, MD, science director for the Science and Environmental Health Network, framed environmental factors in the broader context of social and economic stresses that together exacerbate children's ability to reach their full potential. Other plenary speakers shared the latest research on environmental factors linked to learning and developmental delays, autism, endocrine systems, and impacts that can be passed down through several generations in a family.

The second day of the forum focused on policy opportunities to better protect children's health. CHE-WA was honored to host Ron Sims, the new Undersecretary for Housing and Urban Development, and Martha Berger of EPA's Office of Children's Health Protection, offering perspectives on national efforts to protect children's environmental health.


Forum Materials

Thursday: Science of Children's Environmental Health

Name Title Links
Elise Miller, MEd
Collaborative on Health and the Environment
Welcome and Introduction Video
9:53 minutes
Plenary Presentations
Ted Schettler, MD
Science and Environmental Health Network
Overview of the Latest Science PowerPoint
26:35 minutes
Using an ecosocial framework, this presentation describes the particular susceptibility of developing children to environmental variables and gives examples of effect modification. It also briefly addresses the role of developmental environmental exposures as risk factors for diseases that become apparent much later in life.
Bruce Lanphear, MD, MPH
Simon Fraser University
Neurotoxicants, Learning and Developmental Diseases PowerPoint
38:15 minutes
There is growing evidence showing that exposures to both recognized environmental toxicants and newer environmental chemicals are risk factors for learning and behavioral problems in children at levels previously thought to be innocuous or safe. Collectively, these studies indicate that we need to revise regulations and reduce children's exposures to environmental chemicals and toxicants.
Isaac Pessah, PhD
UC Davis
Autism and Possible Environmental Links: What Does the Science Say? PowerPoint
30:00 minutes
Dr. Pessah presents recent results from the UC Davis Center for Children's Environmental Health and Disease prevention. He reviews findings about mercury levels in children: how blood mercury levels correlate with gene transcription and how persistent organic pollutants that possess non-coplanar chemical structures produce developmental neurotoxicity. He discusses potential relevance to autism and related disorders.
Breakout Session 1
John Kissel, PhD
University of Washington
Children's Non-dietary Chemical Exposure: Is PLACE (Persistent Low-level Ambient Contact Exposure) the Missing Link? PowerPoint
Children's non-dietary chemical exposures are generally attributed to inhalation, soil and dust ingestion, hand-to-mouth and object-to-mouth contact, and direct dermal absorption. The ability to quantitatively predict children's chemical exposures has historically been limited by the general inadequacy of the available datasets against which assumptions could be tested. Data from a relatively recent and large-scale study conducted by USEPA in North Carolina and Ohio that included capture of urinary biomarkers has been subjected to probabilistic analysis.
Chensheng (Alex) Lu, PhD
Harvard University
Food and Children's Environmental Health: Pesticides, Food Additives, Organics and More PowerPoint
29:14 minutes
Despite many years of effort in implementing the Food Quality Protection Act (1996), monitoring and managing pesticide diet risks are still an ongoing challenge. A recent report published by the US EPA Office of Inspection General (USOIG 2006) has stressed the need for data-driven indicators of change in pesticide dietary exposures/risks for children.
Cindy Sage, MA
Sage Associates
Electromagnetic Fields and the Risk to Children's Health PowerPoint
21:08 minutes
The science and public health implications of chronic exposure to electromagnetic fields and radiofrequency radiation is presented. The inadequacy of existing public safety standards is discussed in relation to public-health concerns about the global rollout of wireless technologies and other sources of exposure.
Luncheon Plenary
Michael Skinner, PhD
Washington State University
Epigenetic Transgenerational Actions of Environmental Compounds on Disease: The Ghosts in Your Genes
Transgenerational effects of environmental toxicants (e.g. endocrine disruptors) significantly amplify the impact and health hazards of these compounds. One of the most sensitive periods to endocrine disruptor exposure is during embryonic gonadal sex determination when the germ line is undergoing epigenetic programming and DNA re-methylation. The model endocrine disruptors tested were vinclozolin, which acts as an anti-androgenic compound, and methoxychlor, that has metabolites that are estrogenic.
Breakout Session 2
Catherine Karr, MD, PhD
University of Washington
Climate Change and Children's Health PowerPoint
Children represent a particularly vulnerable group that is likely to suffer disproportionately from health effects of climate change. This session introduces the basic concepts of climate change and children's health with a focus on regional concerns related to ambient air quality.
Larry Dunn
Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe
Nim Ha, MPH
Alaska Division of Public Health
Seafood Consumption and Children's Health Dunn PowerPoint
Ha PowerPoint
32:41 minutes
Seafood is an integral part of the Northwest and Alaskan economy, culture, and diet. Larry Dunn, Lower Elwha Tribe, and Nim Ha, Alaska Division of Public Health, explain impacts on children's health and current research and discuss the complex and often controversial world of fish advisories, messaging and cultural issues rooted the world of subsistence diets.
Sheryl Magzamen, PhD
University of California Berkeley
Outdoor Air Quality and Children's Health PowerPoint

Tom Burbacher, PhD
University of Washington
Biomonitoring, Body Burden, & Environmental Health Tracking PowerPoint
Afternoon Plenaries
Shanna Swan, PhD
University of Rochester
Endocrine Disruptors and Children's Health PowerPoint
33:42 minutes
This presentation briefly touches on recent evidence for threats to male reproductive health. It uses our work on phthalates and male infant development to illustrate why these environmental chemicals appear to be a serious concern for pregnant women, with some suggestions about how exposure could be limited.
Moderator: Elise Miller, MEd
Collaborative on Health and the Environment
Science Panel and Q&A Video
40:13 minutes
Speakers: Ted Schettler, Michael Skinner, Sheela Sathyanarayana, Bruce Lanphear, Shanna Swan, Chensheng Lu, Isaac Pessah, Elaine Faustman and others

Friday: Policies of Children's Environmental Health

Ron Sims
Deputy Secretary, US Department of Housing and Urban Development
25:46 minutes
Michelle Pirzadeh, Regional Administrator, US Environmental Protection Agency, introduced Deputy Secretary Ron Sims.
Policy Presentations and Panels
Panel One: Fixing Our Broken Policies: Children's Environmental Health in the United States
An interview with leaders influencing national laws and policies
Ted Schettler
Science and Environmental Health Network
An Overview of the Science of Children's Environmental Health and the Imperative for Policy Change Video
10:50 minutes

Sarah Doll
Safer Chemicals,
Healthy Families
Opportunities for Reforming National Laws through the Kids Safe Chemicals Act, Coordinated State campaigns, Market-based Campaigns and Local Community Efforts Video
11:19 minutes

Martha Berger
US Environmental Protection Agency
New Opportunities for National Government to Protect Children's Environmental Health Video
11:33 minutes

Panel Two: Our Region as a National Leader: Children's Environmental Health in the Northwest
Ivy Sager-Rosenthal
Washington Toxics Coalition
Introduction Video
14:47 minutes
Carol Kraege
Washington Department of Ecology
State Government as a National Leader in Protecting Children's Environmental Health Video
7:48 minutes
Pam Miller
Alaska Community Action on Toxics
Alaska Native Biomonitoring and Children's Environmental Health Video
11:37 minutes
Jamie Silberberger
Women's Voices for the Earth
Montana's Experience and Engaging Women Nationally on Environmental Health Video
7:56 minutes
Renee Hackenmiller-Paradis
Oregon Environmental Council
Oregon Children's Environmental Health Video
9:35 minutes
Jae Douglas and
Susan Woodbury
Oregon Public Health Division
Oregon's Experience and Challenges Video
8:57 minutes
Dave Galvin
Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County
Local Government as a National/Regional Leader for Protecting Health Video
4:38 minutes
Policy Panel Q&A Video
34:30 minutes
Breakout sessions
Karen Bowman
Washington State Nurses Association
Panelists: Steve Gilbert, Cherie Eicholz, Sally Watkins, Barry Lawson, Erete Bloom
Health Care Provider Issues: Reducing the Barriers to Engaging Health Care Providers
Bowman PowerPoint
Watkins PowerPoint
Health Care Providers: Identifying barriers and facilitators in assisting health care providers in becoming environmental health advocates for children.
Jamie Silberberger
Women's Voices for the Earth
Erika Schreder
Washington Toxics Coalition
Healthy Home Environments: Cleaning Products, Pesticides, Cosmetics, Dust, Green Building, Green Purchasing Silberberger PowerPoint
Schreder PowerPoint
This presentation provides a brief overview of harmful chemicals in children's personal care products (e.g. lotions, bubble bath, etc.), and cleaning products used in the home and institutional settings (schools). The bulk of the presentation focuses on policy solutions at the state and federal level, as well as green purchasing in schools.
Charles Benbrook
The Organic Center
Food as an Environmental Health Issue: Access to Affordable, Safe, Healthy Foods: Preventing Unhealthy Additives from Entering Food Video
28:31 minutes
Dr. Benbrook discusses the reasons why the Pacific Northwest could take over California's role as the leader in advancing the quality and market penetration of organic food, if certain barriers could be removed.
Chris Hawkins
Thurston County Public Health & Social Services
The Big-picture Look at a Community's Environmental Health: Healthy Community, Healthy Development: Transportation, Clean Air, and Walkability PowerPoint
This workshop describes the impact of various efforts by local health departments to create activity-promoting environments for children and their families in the effort to prevent diabetes, obesity and associated chronic illnesses. The information will provide practical tips for local health and community/environmental planning departments to use in creating healthier built environments.
Renee Hackenmiller-Paradis
Oregon Environmental Council
The School and Childcare Environment: Schools and Childcare Centers: Environmental Health Risks and Model Programs Overview PowerPoint
The first few years of a child's life are critical to shaping his or her future health. This presentation covers simple and effective techniques to make childcare facilities and schools as environmentally healthy as possible as well as policy that result in greater protections for all.

Planning Group

Julia Berg, Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County
Nancy Bernard, Washington State Department of Health
Aimee Boulanger, Collaborative on Health and the Environment
Cedar Bouta, Department of Ecology, State of Washington
Angela Delahoz, Tacoma Smelter Plume, Public Health – Seattle & King County
Steve Gilbert, Institute of Neurotoxicology and Neurological Disorders
Gail Gensler, Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County
Jeffersonn Ketchel, Public Health – Seattle & King County
Kim Radtke, WithinReach and Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington
Margaret Shield, Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County
Miranda Taylor, Gesundheit Acupuncture
Heather Trim, People for Puget Sound
Dennis Weaver, Change Your Food – Change Your Life!
Margo Young, Environmental Protection Agency


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