2017 Symposium

The Children’s Environmental Health Institute (CEHI) is pleased to present our Ninth Scientific Symposium
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Emerging Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
and the Unborn Child

Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas
Pat Hayes Education Center
4900 Mueller Blvd.
Austin, TX  78723


A Limited Number of Student Scholarships are available.  E-mail sarah.jones@cehi.org

Join medical professionals, public health and private sector agencies, not-for-profit agencies, faith communities, public policy representatives, built environment sector and child and family advocate organizations, research scientists and government officials in attending the 2017 Scientific Symposium.

Click here for complete Program Syllabus PDF


7:30     Registration and Refreshments
8:00     Welcome
     Janie D. Fields
, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Children’s Environmental Health Institute
     Jules Elkins, PhD, Symposium Program Chair, University of Texas at Austin, Department of Geography and the Environment, and Children’s Environmental Health Institute Board
8:30     Showing of Unsafe:  The Truth Behind Everyday Chemicals                 This Earth Focus documentary looks at endocrine disruptors, ubiquitous chemicals that affect development, metabolism, fertility and intelligence at extremely low doses and at what measures could be taken to better ensure public safety.
9:00     Keynote How Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Work and How Multidisciplinary Science and Outreach Can Chart a Path for Avoiding Their Consequences including to the Unborn Child

Cheryl S. Watson, PhD
Distinguished Teaching Professor, University of Texas Medical Branch, Academy of Master Teachers, Editor-in-Chief, Endocrine Disruptors (Taylor & Francis), Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Dept., Galveston, Texas.  Dr. Watson is a PhD graduate of Baylor College of Medicine (Cell Biology) and completed postdoctoral fellowships in steroid actions (National Institute for Medical Research, London England; the Population Council, Rockefeller Univ). Read More.

Learning Objectives.  Participants will be able to:

  • Understand the cellular mechanisms by which chemical endocrine disruptors can mimic steroid hormones and cause either developmental stage-inappropriate stimulation, or interfere with the normal actions of physiologic steroid hormones
  • Recognize some common features of chemicals that can act as estrogens via multiple signaling pathways, and how mixtures of these chemicals (as they exist in the environment) exacerbate their detrimental actions
  • Relate interference with these mechanisms to some common birth defects and diseases of infants and children
  • Envision multidisciplinary scientist/stakeholder collaborative approaches to identify future endocrine disruptive chemicals and unfortunate substitutions BEFORE they are used in ways that allow large-scale exposures of the public
  • Consider and participate in different types of effective public outreach including:  productive interactions with the press; teaching stakeholders and the public about endocrine disruption issues via innovative and engaging electronic technologies that maximize accessibility and communication

10:00     BREAK

Morning Presentations:  Making the Scientific Case of the Impact
of Toxic Chemicals on Unborn Children

10:15     The Endocrine Society’s Second Scientific Statement on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC-2)

Suzanne Fenton, PhD
Co-Author, EDC-2, Group Leader, Reproductive Endocrinology Group, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in the National Toxicology Program (NTP).  Dr. Suzanne “Sue” Fenton earned her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of WI-Madison in the Endocrinology/Reproductive Physiology Program, working in the areas of artificial insemination and mammary gland biology.  Read More.

Learning Objectives.  Participants will be able to:

  • State goals of the EDC2 Statement
  • Describe EDCs and avoiding developmental exposure
  • Relate state of the science in the key areas of review
    • Obesity, diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular diseases
    • EDCs and female reproduction
    • EDCs and male reproduction
    • Certain hormone-sensitive cancers
    • EDCs and the prostate gland
    • Impacts on the thyroid
    • The brain: neuroendocrine systems and neurodevelopment

10:45     Emerging Technology in Assessing EDCs as Risk Factors to the Unborn Child

Nicole C. Kleinstreuer, PhD
Dr. Kleinstreuer is the deputy director of the National Toxicology Program Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM) within the NIEHS, in RTP, NC. She worked previously for Integrated Laboratory Systems as the head of their computational toxicology group.  She received degrees in mathematics and biomedical engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, her PhD in BioEngineering from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, and completed her postdoctoral training with the U.S. EPA’s National Center for Computational Toxicology. Read More.

Learning Objectives.  Participants will be able to:

  • Discuss the existing testing paradigm under the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program and the associated challenges given the size of the chemical universe.
  • Explain novel high throughput screening (HTS) approaches and computational toxicology models that integrate HTS data along biological pathways.
  • Understand methods of in vitro to in vivo extrapolation that are providing exposure context for endocrine pathway activity.

11:30     Lunch
   How Relevant is Food as a Pathway to EDCs Exposure?

Robert Cabrera, PhD
Nutritional Science Laboratory, University of Texas, Austin,
Research  Scientist, Dell Pediatric Research Institute.
Dr. Cabrera has studied and conducted birth defect research for more than 20 years. His primary research is focused on understanding early brain development. His career goal is to further enable the prevention of preventable birth defects. Read More.

 Learning Objectives.  Participants will be able to:

  • Describe environmental sources of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC) exposures.
  • Describe foods and consumer sources of EDC exposures.
  • Describe EDC exposure impact in relation to developmental stage.
  • Describe models for testing EDCs, with advantages and limitations.

12:45     BREAK

Afternoon Presentations:  How to Become a Part of the Solution to Protect Current and Future Generations

1:00     Panel:  Corporate Ingenuity in Response to Protecting Unborn Children

Reducing Companies’ Chemical Footprint — An Investor Perspective

Rich Liroff, PhD
Founder & Executive Director, Investor Environmental Health Network, Advisory Committee, Green Chemistry and Commerce Council.  Dr. Liroff founded the Investor Environmental Health Network in 2004 and serves as its Executive Director. IEHN, a collaboration of sustainable investment organizations managing about $60 billion in assets, has developed the business case for companies to adopt safer chemicals policies for their products and supply chains and engages companies on these issues through dialogues and, as necessary, shareholder resolutions.  Read More.

Learning Objectives.  Participants will be able to:

  • Describe financial risks and opportunities arising from companies’ management of chemicals of concern in their products and supply chains
  • Understand the history and impact of investor engagement with companies on managing risks from chemicals in their products and supply chains
  • Discuss the value of “chemical footprint” assessment as a tool for comparing companies’ management of chemical risks in products and supply chains
  • Identify sources for securing deeper knowledge of the topics discussed in the presentation

Why Did a Beauty Company Hire a Reproductive and Environmental Health Scientist?

Nicole Acevedo, PhD
Dr. Acevedo is Principal Scientist at Beautycounter/Counter Brands LLC where she brings her scientific expertise on the health risks of everyday exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals, and is responsible for comprehensively screening all product ingredients for safety. Dr. Acevedo received her doctorate in Molecular and Integrative Physiology at the University of Michigan.  Read More.

Learning Objectives.  Participants will be able to:

  • Describe the limitations of our U.S. federal regulatory process to standardize the personal care and cosmetics industry to ensure product safety for the consumer.
  • Recognize the susceptible windows/routes of exposure and consumer habits that influence the total human body burden of chemicals commonly found in personal care products.
  • Understand the process of creating safer consumer products through redefining ingredient safety via health-protective ingredient selection practices and understanding and influencing ingredient supply chain complexities.
  • Explain how for-profit companies can build a successful business model by prioritizing the education of the individual consumer about environmental health issues and advocacy for more health protective laws.

Ensuring that the First Line in the Sand That We Draw Surrounds Material Safety

Kevin Brodwick
Founder & CEO, Think Baby and ThinkSport
Kevin Brodwick attended the University of Texas in Austin.  His real education came through a rather unique upbringing with two parents deeply imbedded in the science world.  Having growing up listening to Nobel Prize winners at the dinner table describe complex health issues, Kevin became uniquely focused on how to bridge the gap between scientific research and how it could be consumed by the people that needed to understand it the most.   Read More.

Learning Objectives.  Participants will be able to:

  • Explain the background of Thinkbaby/Thinksports in the involvement in the BPA movement and why we choose to focus on educating the public over pushing for governmental regulation.
  • Discuss how Thinkbaby/Thinksports philosophy and focus was born: Safe, Functional, Sustainable and as inexpensive as possible.
  • Describe Thinkbaby/Thinksports process for targeting problem areas within the consumer product world and process for solving those problems.
  • Recognize the challenges from both being an emerging company in an emerging space of health centric consumer goods

3:00     BREAK
3:15     Turning Endocrine Disrupting Chemical (EDC) Science into Action: P
ersonal Care Products, Certifications, and Transformative Solutions; and
Science in Action:  Healthy Babies Bright Futures

Jane Houlihan, MSCE
Immediate Past Vice President for Research at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Current Research Director, Healthy Babies Bright Futures.  As research director and science communications expert for national non-profit organizations, Jane Houlihan focuses on transforming science into resources that empower people to make healthy, sustainable choices.   Read More.

Participants will be able to:

  • Review the scope of the EDC problem and major barriers to progress
  • Explore some of the heroes who are creating change, including authors of the TENDR Consensus Statement’s Call to Action
  • Learn about transformative solutions that reduce children’s body burden of EDCs, including certification systems like EWG VERIFIED
  • Explore the full range of expertise and resources needed to solve the EDC problem, and how programs like Science into Action at Healthy Babies Bright Futures are making a difference

4:45     Closing Remarks, Jules Elkins, PhD, Symposium Program Chair, Children’s
Environmental Health Institute Board
5:00     Adjourn –  Science Cafe Reception (Speaker Roundtable Discussions with Refreshments)

All Speaker Biographies (pdf)

Optional Private Guided Tour of Dell Children’s Medical Center on Tuesday, March 28 at 2 and 3 p.m. Must register ahead.

Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas is the first hospital in the world to earn platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for outstanding Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).  Register for the tour  when you register for the symposium. Click for more information about this LEED Designation.

Continuing Education:

Symposium attendees will receive an attendance certificate at the event. The Children’s Environmental Health Institute does not provide continuing education credits.  This certificate with the agenda hours attended, can be used toward Continuing Education Credit and Self-Directed Study in most states.  A complete program syllabus will be provided at the event with an abstract and learning objectives for each presentation.  In addition, the Children’s Environmental Health Institute has been approved by the Texas Education Agency as a Continuing Professional Education provider.

Residence Inn Austin-University Area

*  Marriott Residence Inn Austin – University Area, 1209 E 51st St Austin  TX  78723. Within walking distance of the symposium.  A limited number of rooms at a special group rate of $162 will be held until February 28.




Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas
4900 Mueller Blvd.
Austin, TX  78723

The Symposium will be conducted inside the Pat Hayes Education Center next to the Hospital Main Entrance and Main Visitor Parking.  For additional directions and parking click here.


If you have any questions about the symposium, contact the Children’s Environmental Health Institute at mail@cehi.org, or 512-657-7405.  If you have any questions about this website, contact sarah.jones@cehi.org.