Author archives: Eileen Kramer

A Day in the Life at GSP: Veronica Chin

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As Program Associate, Veronica Chin leads GSP’s role in the Foam Furniture Replacement Study. The “Dust Study,” as we call it, replaces old furniture containing flame retardants with new furniture without those chemicals for low-income families in the Bay Area. In collaboration with UC Davis and Biomonitoring California, we are testing the old furniture for chemical content, and measuring levels of flame retardants in house dust over time.…

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A Perfect Storm

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The phrase “a perfect storm” has gone from wildly popular to wildly unpopular. Detractors say it should be banned due to overuse. But it’s not banned yet. A perfect storm is “a critical or disastrous situation created by a powerful concurrence of factors.” It’s just the “right” factors leading to just the wrong outcome. High rates of exposure to organohalogen flame retardants can be seen as a perfect storm that’s hitting all of us, but especially children.…

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“Remove the Handle” – Calling on the CPSC to Turn Off the Toxic Pump

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Kim Harley, PhD, is an environmental epidemiologist at the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health, University of California, Berkeley. Through her research, she tracks the sources and causes of disease. She studies how often diseases occur in different groups of people and why, then applies this knowledge to the prevention of further harm, especially to pregnant women and children.…

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Backfire: Unintended Consequences of Flame Retardants

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Combustion scientist, Donald Lucas, started his career doing research at temperatures near absolute zero (−430°F) before working in combustion, where temperatures can exceed 4,500°F. As he says, you can get “burned” by both the very cold and the very hot.

Dr. Lucas received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from UC Berkeley, and is a retired scientist in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His principal areas of research are combustion generated air pollutants, experimental chemical kinetics, and combustion chemistry. I’ll resist the urge to call him “The Boy Who Played with Fire.”…

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The Nature of the Beast

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Miriam Diamond is a professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Toronto, and holds a PhD. in Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry. At her lab, researchers study environmental chemicals, particularly semi-volatile organic compounds, or SVOCs. They ask:

• What are the sources of these chemicals?
• What are their pathways?
• How are humans and ecosystems exposed?…

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Four times breast cancer risk linked to prenatal DDT exposure

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Barking up the wrong branch of the family tree For years scientists studied women who were exposed to DDT as adults. An analysis of existing research found “no significant association” between exposure and breast cancer risk. But a new study from the Public Health Institute tells us scientists may have been looking at the wrong women. They should have been looking at those women’s daughters. New findings indicate that women who were exposed to higher levels of DDT while in…

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What’s in your house dust? Study Participants Wanted

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Do you live in Northern California? Are you planning to buy a new couch or swap out your old foam cushions for new, flame retardant-free furnishings before November, 2016? If so, you may be eligible to participate in an exciting study. In collaboration with UC Davis, Silent Spring Institute, and Environmental Working Group, we want to measure the change in household levels of flame retardants after removing furniture or foam products that contain flame retardants. Our question is: does household…

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