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E-M:/ Press Release: Dr. Theo Colborn (new format)

Title: Press Release:  Dr. Theo Colborn (new format)

Raising awareness to improve health

NEWS                FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE         
June 25, 2001            Contact: Melissa Bunker at (313) 886-9074

Michigan Can Reduce Health Risks with Facts on Endocrine Disruption

A program by Dr. Theo Colborn, senior program scientist and director of the Wildlife and Contaminants Program, World Wildlife Fund.

Microscopic amounts of man-made substances found in the Michigan's air, water, and food disrupt the human body's natural chemistry, resulting in rising numbers of developmental disorders, reports Dr. Theo Colborn.  The internationally recognized authority on environmental factors and human health will soon return to Michigan where she has conducted extensive research on the impacts of chemicals on developing organisms.

In a special public presentation, "Endocrine Disruption: Lessons from the Great Lakes," Dr. Colborn will describe the effects of toxic chemicals on the developing fetus and young children.  Co-author of "Our Stolen Future: A Scientific Detective Story - Are We Threatening our Fertility, Intelligence, and Survival?", Dr. Colborn's analysis of current research concludes that the complex chemicals used in Michigan and around the world for farming, commerce and industry are making an enormous impact upon human health.

These man-made chemicals act as disrupters of the human endocrine system, Dr. Colborn reports.  Including the pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands, the endocrine system plays the central role in the development of a baby's neural, reproductive, and immune systems.  Researchers in the U.S. and Canada have found that women who ate fish from the Great Lakes before they became pregnant retained minute amounts of endocrine disruptors in their bodies, which appear to be responsible for disproportionate physical and psychological disorders in their offspring.

Dr. Colborn's public lecture will be hosted Thursday, July 12, by LocalMotion - a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the connections between toxic chemicals in the environment and negative health consequences, such as cancer, in southeastern Michigan.  The LocalMotion series is made possible by support from the Earl-Beth Foundation and The Breast Cancer Fund.

"Dr. Colborn reports that every individual from the Great Lakes region carries measurable amounts of PCBs and other artificial chemicals in their fatty tissues that their bodies can't break down," said Betsy Dance, executive director of LocalMotion.  "Dr. Colborn reports these chemicals can disrupt the endocrine system during the most critical time in a person's existence - the 266 days they spend developing in the womb.  We see the results, for example, when children can't learn as fast as their peers, or perhaps might not be able to reproduce as adults."

While the current situation is ominous, Dr. Colborn holds hope for the future, Dance adds.  As the work of medical and scientific researchers spreads throughout the world, it is taken under consideration of governments, businesses, and individuals who can make fruitful changes.

Dr. Colborn is Senior Program Scientist and directs the Wildlife and Contaminants Program at the World Wildlife Fund in Washington, DC.  She raised four children and worked as a pharmacist and a sheep rancher.  Dr. Colborn earned a doctorate in zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison at age 58 and soon earned an international reputation for her work studying the impact of artificial chemicals in the Great Lakes ecosystem.  

Serving as a member of the adjunct faculties of Texas A&M University and George Mason University, Dr. Colborn's professional affiliations include membership in the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology; the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry; and the American Water Resources Association.  She has authored more than 60 scientific papers.  Among her appointments are service to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Council on the Future; Toxic Substances Research Initiative, Health Canada; and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Endocrine Disruptor Screening and Validation Task Force.

Dr. Colborn's address is the sixth in the LocalMotion lecture series "Toxins in the Environment: Prevention & Solutions."  Presented by internationally recognized medical and environmental experts, the series provides credible scientific information that helps people understand the connections between health and environment.  The series inspires people to make better choices that will reduce the risk of cancer and other health problems.  Dr. Ted Schettler, Mr. William McDonough, Dr. Sandra Steingraber, Mr. Steve D. Lerner, and Dr. Devra Davis are among those that have addressed the public through LocalMotion.

The LocalMotion address begins at 7 p.m., July 12, 2001, at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial auditorium, 32 Lakeshore Drive, Grosse Pointe, Michigan.  Dr. Colborn's presentation is open to the public.  Admission is $5 per person.

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