Health and the Environment

I took the day off from planning my trip (and writing about the last one) to attend a conference on "Women's Health and the Environment." What a worthwhile day this was. Although I often worry about cancer, my family has an extensive history of it, I never thought much about the part the environment plays, or the part it must play in autism and ADHD. This was really an eye opener for me. Being a lazy writer and reporter I rely on you to follow the links I'm providing. This is an important subject; we should all seek to have a better understanding of what is going on.

The conference was sponsored in part by Teresa Heinz, who also gave the opening address. She was marvelous. I was immediately captivated when she declared: "The more we can ask the more we can make healthy choices, and here's
why: ignorance kills and knowledge saves lives. Preventive medicine is
part of knowledge." She stressed the importance of preventative medical care for all, and talked about how our healthcare system was broken, one of my favorite topics. For more of what she said go here.

The theme of the conference was: New Science, New Solutions. The keynote speaker, Nancy Nichols, talked about growing up in Waukegan, Illinois, and how, as children, she and her sister played on the shores of Lake Michigan on what later was identified as tons of PCBs and at least three huge superfund sites. Both of them developed rare cancers when they were in their forties, her sister dying from a rare form of ovarian cancer. Needless to say, I was probably drinking the water in Chicago that came down from Waukegan.

An "Air and Water" panel and a "Food and Personal Care Products" panel gave us more information than I really wanted to know, about how our food is produced and how chemicals found everywhere in our lives are never tested for safety. It almost makes me want to stop eating–a very big statement for me.

I'm not going to tell you everything I learned. The conference website will have podcasts of all of the speakers. I'll let you know when they are posted and hope you will listen to them. And I'll talk about this again.