Womens health environment symposium

Clean New York hosts first Women’s Health & the Environment Symposium

peggy shepard
Clean New York was proud to host the first of two events dedicated to examining the relationship between women’s health and the environment. On March 22, 2010, Women’s Health and the Environment: Science and Solutions brought together legislators, advocates, medical progessionals, teachers, students and others to learn about the growing scientific evidence linking women’s health and the environment, and current policy and market trends towards sustainable chemicals and safer materials. The event was cosponsored by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, Capital Region Action Against Breast Cancer, Learning Disabilities Association of New York State, New York State Nurses Association, and New York State United Teachers and moderated by Barbara Bartoletti, Legislative Director for League of Women Voters of NYS.

Our science panelists Dr. David Carpenter (U Albany) and Dr. Maricel Maffini (Tufts University) provided a compelling look at the connection between women’s health and the environment.

david carpenter Dr. Carpenter’s presentation, Chronic Disease in Women and Environmental Exposures, is available here (pdf).

maricel maffini
The presentations given by Dr. Maffini are available here (Women’s Health and the Environment, Dr. Janet Gray, Vassar College) and here (The Case for Bisphenol A, Dr. Maffini) as pdfs.
Peggy Shepard, Executive Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice, gave the keynote address at the event. As the co-founder of WE ACT, Shepard has decades of experience in the environmental justice movement. Her passionate speech encompassed the issues of food justice, women’s health, community action and environmental equality.

policy panel
In the afternoon policy panel, event co-sponsor Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal discussed her commitment to protecting women’s health and the environment, focusing on legislation that would regulate chemicals in nail polish and protect nail salon workers and customers from exposures (A. 7447). Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes talked about the need for integrating chemical policy reform with environmental justice.

Peoples-Stokes is the lead sponsor of a bill (A. 1985) that would establish governmental procedures to safeguard residents’ health and welfare, and achieve environmental justice. Citing the variety of exposure routes and multitude of chemicals of concern, Senator Bill Perkins drove home the need for comprehensive legislation to address these issues. Perkins is sponsor of New York’s Child-Safe Products Act (S.7070), which would regulate some toxic chemicals, require more information be available for other chemicals of concern, and substitute safer alternatives for chemicals no longer being used. Sen. Perkins’ bill is the same as a bill introduced by Assemblymember Sweeney (A.10089)

advocacy panel
Panelists Kathy Curtis (Clean New York), Cecil Corbin-Mark (WE ACT), and Margaret Roberts (CRAAB!) closed the event with a comprehensive look at the advocacy scene in New York and nationally, and discussed opportunities for action on the New York Child-Safe Products act and reform of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act.

In all, the event was a great success and will provide support and motivation for our ongoing efforts to protect women’s health here in NY and nationally. With your help, Clean New York and our partners will continue to advocate for safer products and stronger laws. Thanks to those who attended!