Children’s Environmental Health U.S.-MX Border Symposium
Protecting Children Where They Live, Learn, and Play in Border Communities and Beyond
August 25th, 2016
The U.S.-Mexico Border faces unique challenges in protecting children’s environmental health. More than 1.8 million children live along the border in the United States, and many live in substandard housing conditions with no access to running water, leaking septic tanks, increased risk of pesticide exposure, poor air quality, and other environmental issues.
In 2015, EPA Regions 6 and 9, worked together to plan and conduct two educational symposia to specifically address environmental health issues that disproportionately impact children. The first Symposium was held in El Paso, Texas on September 24-25, 2015. Four months later, a second symposium was held on January 27-28, 2016 in San Diego, California, and included a round-table discussion to gather input from stakeholders. More than 275 people attended the symposia.
A third symposium is now planned for August 25th, 2016 in Brownsville, Texas. This symposium is a collaboration between the EPA, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, White House Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2), Southwest Center for Pediatric Environmental Health, and other partners in the region. In addition to the traditional symposium format, there will also be a one-day Healthy Homes training that will take place on August 24th. Participants may attend this training to complement the symposium.
The goal of all these events across the border region is to train health care providers, public health professionals, promotoras/community health workers, and students in the medical profession about the unique challenges of protecting children from environmental health risks. Continuing education credits will be provided and there will be an opportunity to network and develop new partnerships across the border region. There is no cost to attend, but registration will be required due to space limitations. Registration for the symposium will open in late May and can be found at https://www.epa.gov/border2020.
Endocrine Society releases scientific statement on endocrine-disrupting chemicals
In the Scientific Statement released by the Endocrine Society, Dr. Andrea Gore, Professor and Vacek Chair of Pharmacology, The University of Texas at Austin, and Editor-in-Chief, of Endocrinology, stated “There is more conclusive evidence than ever before regarding how EDCs interfere with hormones and how that affects human health.”
The research offers insights into factors driving the rising rates of obesity and diabetes. About 35 percent of American adults are obese, and more than 29 million Americans have diabetes, according to the Society’s Endocrine Facts and Figures report.
The Scientific Statement reveals in their Executive Summary how emerging evidence ties endocrine disrupting chemical exposure to two of the biggest public health threats facing society – diabetes and obesity. Also, the neurodevelopment and neuroendocrine systems both regulate, and are regulated by hormones, and are highly sensitive to EDCs. These systems control reproductive, growth, stress and other functions.
The Scientific Statement examines evidence-linking EDCs to reproductive health problems, hormone-related cancers such as breast and ovarian cancer, prostate conditions, thyroid disorders and neurodevelopmental issues. Although many of these conditions were linked to EDCs by earlier research, the number of corroborating studies continues to mount. “It is clear we need to take action to minimize further exposure,” Gore said. “With more chemicals being introduced into the marketplace all the time, better safety testing is needed to identify new EDCs and ensure they are kept out of household goods.”
The Executive Summary of the Scientific Statement, which synthesizes 1300 studies on endocrine disrupters, posits that scientists are more confident than ever before in linking EDC substances to a host of known health issues, including reproductive and developmental problems, thyroid impairment, certain reproductive cancers, and neurodevelopmental problems such as decreased IQ. But studies suggest those links can now be extended to heart and weight problems, and diabetes.
Six years ago, scientists couldn’t make such a strong case for those links, Gore says, because there weren’t enough good studies. “But this has really been an emerging field where there is much stronger evidence now.”
The “Executive Summary to EDC-2: The Endocrine Society’s Second Scientific Statement on Endocrine-disrupting Chemicals,” was published online in Endocrine Reviews, a journal of the Endocrine Society, at http://press.endocrine.org/doi/10.1210/er.2015-1093
Environmental Working Group Survey of canned-good brands finds endocrine disruptor hormone-mimicking compound still widely used.
In a survey of more than 250 brands of canned food, researchers found that more than 44 percent use bisphenol-A lined cans for some or all of their products.
See the full report here.
What are we doing to our children’s brains?
Environmental chemicals are wreaking havoc to last a lifetime
February 16, 2015 — The numbers are startling. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1.8 million more children in the U.S. were diagnosed with developmental disabilities between 2006 and 2008 than a decade earlier. During this time, the prevalence of autism climbed nearly 300 percent, while that of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder increased 33 percent. CDC figures also show that 10 to 15 percent of all babies born in the U.S. have some type of neurobehavorial development disorder. Still more are affected by neurological disorders that don’t rise to the level of clinical diagnosis. READ ARTICLE
The Children’s Environmental Health Institute was honored to have served as a partner with the Children’s Environmental Health Network, Environmental Health Perspectives, and the International Society of Children’s Health and the Environment, to support the Children’s Environmental Research Conference on February 4-6, 2015, in Austin , Texas. Click Here for Link to the Conference Page and/or attendee list.
2014 Biennial Scientific Symposium Conducted November, 2014
Message from Janie D. Fields, Executive Director
Thank you to the participants and to our partners who made our 2014 Scientific Symposium an inspiring and successful endeavor. It felt like a full circle journey to be back on the Colorado River at the McKinney Roughs Nature Center. It was fifteen years ago that we gathered there to host our first Biennial Scientific Symposium.
We are especially grateful for the support of our partners, the St. Susie Charitable Foundation, St. David’s Foundation, The United States Environmental Protection Agency, Reliant Energy, Austin Energy, Southwest Center for Pediatric Environmental Health, and the Texas Medical Association. We also wish to acknowledge our appreciation to our service partners Special Audience Marketing and Concordia University.
The unseasonably wintry temperatures were not a deterrent to the fellowship and enthusiasm shared between participants and presenters.
It was bittersweet time at our 2014 Scientific Symposium to say farewell to beloved members of the board of directors, Dr. Martin Lorin and Dr. Donald Dudley. Best wishes to Dr. Lorin on his well earned and deserved retirement from Professor, Baylor College of Medicine and Attending Physician, Texas Children’s Hospital and congratulations to Dr. Dudley in his new position as the William P. Moore Professor and Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Virginal School of Medicine. It is our good fortune is that both Dr. Lorin and Dr. Dudley will continue to serve an advisory capacity to the Children’s Environmental Health Institute.
Also, the 2014 Scientific Symposium provided an opportunity to welcome an eminent leader in the field of environmental health risk prevention, Dr. Claudia Miller, to the CEHI Board of Directors. Dr. Miller serves as Visiting Senior Scientist, Harvard School of Public Health, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Texas School of Medicine, San Antonio, Assistant Dean, MD/MPH Program, Vice Chair, Community Medicine, Department of Family and Community Medicine and as the Founder and Director of the South Texas Environmental Education and Research (STEER) Program, University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio.
Indeed, CEHI celebrated our 15th anniversary this year. We have taken this journey together with many of the readers of this message and I am reminded of my favorite Kahlil Gibran quote, “Work is love made visible”. As we look forward to the New Year and renewing our strategic plan, we hope that together we will expand our outreach and efforts to promote how the health of our children is inextricably linked to their environment.
Janie D. Fields
CEHI Releases Executive Summary of Houston Roundtable
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Children’s Environmental Health Institute, it is my pleasure to present the Executive Summary from the Houston Roundtable Discussion on the Environment Related to Asthma and Respiratory Diseases in Pre-School and School-Age Children. We want to extend to all of the presenters, participants, sponsors, staff and supporters an expression of appreciation for their time and effort on behalf of this project to improve the quality of health for current and future generations in the Greater Houston Area.
Martin Lorin, M.D., Steering Committee Chair
Children’s Environmental Health Institute
Professor Baylor College of Medicine
Texas Children’s Hospital
The Houston Roundtable Discussion focused on environmental health risks related to asthma and respiratory disease in the Greater Houston Area. Houston has made much progress, and yet many unknown or missed opportunities remain to protect children from exposure to toxics in the air they breathe and where they live, learn, and play. In addition, the Roundtable Discussion addressed policy-making opportunities and the importance of over-arching approaches to support education and action plans to to decrease asthma and respiratory disease in children.
We wish to recognize and thank the sponsors of the Roundtable Initiative and Discussion. Undertaking the Houston Roundtable Initiative and Discussion would not have been possible to do without the support and financial contributions from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region 6, Saint Susie Charitable Foundation, the Texas Children’s Health Plan, Kirksey Architects, Reliant Energy, the Southwest Center for Pediatric Environmental Health, the Houston Department of Health and Human Services (List Sponsors). In addition, words cannot adequately express our gratitude to the Roundtable Discussion members for their time, skills and support in participating in conference calls, planning committee meetings. Their generosity in reserving the full measure of a day from their calendar to serve on the Roundtable Discussion reflects their dedication to improving the quality of life for all children.
Towards Healthy Schools 2015 Report Now Available!
The Towards Healthy Schools 2015 Report cites multiple studies documenting the benefits of healthy indoor learning environments on attendance and achievement, then presents state-level data and policy summaries. (Click report cover below to link to the full report).
Spotlight on CEHI Student Volunteer
Upasana Prabhu, freshman at Westlake High School and CEHI volunteer, with her parents at the reception at the Dell Children’s Medical Center for the Seventh Biennial Scientific Symposium, How School Environments Affect the Health and Educational Performance of Students, hosted by the Children’s Environmental Health Institute (CEHI). To read Upasana’s address to the participants, please go here .
Picture the Children Photo Exhibit
Children and Their Food
Sponsored by the Whole Kids Foundation
The Children and Their Food Photo Exhibit debuted in October 2012, during National School Lunch Week, at CEHI’s Seventh Biennial Scientific Symposium at the Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas.
The Picture the Children program of the Children’s Environmental Health Institute (CEHI) is an approach to evoke an emotional experience for the viewers to envision the unique relationship children experience in their environment and the impact on their wellbeing. The images document the joy, discovery and positive health outcomes children experience in natural and healthy environments.
In partnership with the Whole Kids Foundation, the focus is on children and their relationship with food for the Picture the Children Photo Exhibit. In an effort to advance the discussion about children’s health and their environment, select photographers were invited to turn their lenses toward children and their food. Photographers were selected by the Advisory Panel to submit photographs representing the relationship between children and food.
Eating is a learned behavior. Healthy eating in childhood and adolescence is important for proper growth and development and is associated with reduced risk for many diseases, including several of the leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Poor nutrition is a major cause of health problems such as obesity and chronic disease, which are now increasingly beginning in childhood.
Susanna Finnell, PhD, Jury Chair
Marla Camp, Owner and Publisher of Edible Austin
Marise McDermott, President & CEO, Witte Museum, San Antonio, Texas
Lise Ragbir, Owner of Ragbir Art, Art Consultant
Penny De Los Santos, Senior Contributing photographer to Saveur Magazine and a regular contributing photographer for National Geographic Magazine and Martha Stewart Living
To view the Picture the Children: Children in Nature Photo Exhibit by Roberto “Bear Guerra” go to http://bearguerra.com/children-in-nature/.