Chemicals & Global Public Health: Attaining “Green Chemistry”

East Bay Chapter

Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Location: Berkeley, CA

Join UNA East Bay for a discussion featuring Megan Schwartzman & Michael Wilson of UC Berkeley’s Center for Occupational & Environmental Health.

Program: Green chemistry and a green economy are the focus of two leading environmental health scientists and policy advocates. They will share highlights about their research and recommendations that encompass the needs for improved policies, monitoring and regulation of proven and suspected toxins in some 80,000 chemicals in commercial use -- almost none of which have been tested for their safety to human health and the environment. Our speakers can also shed light on what other countries have done, and about the impact and limitations of the 3 UN Conventions on hazardous chemicals and waste.

Dr. Megan Schwartzman & Dr. Michael Wilson have collaborated for several years as leaders of the UCB School of Public Health’s Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, where Wilson serves as Program Director (www.coeh.berkeley.edu). Schwartzman brings her academic and practical experience in medicine and public health to the Center. They have written extensively, including work that contributed to the establishment of California’s Green Chemistry Initiative, and a major study about chemical policy that compared approaches and explored areas of cooperation between California and the European Union.

Dine at: Plearn restaurant, 1924 University Ave (near MLK Jr. Blvd). Mild Thai food has appealed to participants of 3 prior Dinner Forum programs. Variety of dishes including vegetarian.

6:15pm for dinner; 7:15pm for presentation, Q&A and discussion until 8:45pm
Reserve: UNA members $20, non-members $25, students $10.
Contact: 510-717-5204 or unaeastbaydinnerforum@gmail.com

Background: It’s difficult to imagine that each day well over 40 billion tons of chemicals are produced or imported in the United States for use in industrial processes and products. While useful and/or necessary for society, they can also be toxic to humans or ecosystems – in the environment, foods and beverages, and other products people have contact with. The USA has had a legal framework for decades to manage this great mass of material. However, it is widely recognized as having failed as a vehicle for government, the public or industry to assess the hazards of chemicals or control those of concern. [extract from Schwartzman/Wilson paper, 2008] Moreover, with growing awareness among UN member governments about the risks to public health and the environment due to increasing quantities of chemicals and hazardous wastes, the UN facilitated adoption of three multilateral environmental agreements (the Rotterdam, Basil and Stockholm Conventions). These agreements share the common objective of protecting human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes – at different stages of their life-cycle, from production to transport, storage, use, and disposal.

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