Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Your Voice is needed October 28th

Good Morning Neighbor:

I participated in my first national conference call with the Chemical Emergencies Work Group for the National Conservation on Public Health and Chemical Exposures program.  By the end of the 90 minute call, I had run my mouth so much about the chemical exposure incident in our community they asked me to do a presentation at our first face-to-face meeting in Baltimore next month.   

At first, I was frustrated with myself for always having to call things like they are. But then I was glad I did. Because now we will finally get the opportunity to tell our story to some people who have the power to make a difference (such as Homeland Security - EPA and so many more).  
Over the next few weeks, I will be working overtime to pull together a PowerPoint and a short film for my presentation.  Luckily, I'll be able to use the information developed by Dr. Speaker and all of the material we compiled for our testimony at the State Capitol.   

I will also be participating in the upcoming National Conference on Public Health and the Environment, which begins this Sunday here in Atlanta. I am including an email about the conference and I especially want to note that there will be a free listening session on Wednesday.  This would be the perfect time for you to tell the CDC and Public Health exactly what went on in our community. It is also a time to make them aware of any other public health issues such as quarry residue inhalation and other housing issues such as mold. A victory for a public agency would be to have no public comments during the listening session. That would reinforce their position that change does not need to take place because they gave the public a chance to speak up and no one did so it must not be that big of a problem.   

Make next Wednesday a priority -- they need to know we are still here!!!

Your neighbor,


P.S.  Carol Couch has resigned as Director of the Environmental Protection Division and will be taking a position with UGA.

Constance (Biemiller) Thomas, Chair
South Fulton and Fayette Community Task Force
Ph. -770-314-6999

As Margaret Mead once said:

Never underestimate the power of a few committed people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

National Conversation on Public Health and Chemical Exposures
October 2009 Project Update



Thank you for your interest in the National Conversation on Public Health and Chemical Exposures. Read on for the latest information about National Conversation activities and opportunities for you to get involved. As always, please e-mail nationalconversation@cdc.gov with any questions or comments.


Project Status


As you may know, the National Conversation project was launched with a day-long meeting on June 26, 2009.  Meeting summary information is available on the National Conversation project Web site. Since the kick-off meeting, project work groups have stood up to address the following topics related to public health and chemical exposures:  monitoring, scientific understanding, policies and practices, chemical emergencies, serving communities, and education and communication. An explanation of the membership selection process and membership lists for each work group are posted on the project Web site. Work groups will meet monthly, either by teleconference or in person, over the course of the project. Initial teleconferences are currently underway and the first face-to-face meetings will be held in November in Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD.  Meetings will be open to members of the public by request on a space available basis.  Each work group will prepare a report for inclusion in a final action agenda.


In addition to work groups, a project Leadership Council has convened and will meet for the first time in December. The Leadership Council includes a wide range of expertise and perspectives that will provide project guidance throughout the process and will develop the final action agenda. A current list of Leadership Council members is posted on the project Web site.


Check the project Web site regularly for project updates.


Opportunities for Involvement


2009 National Environmental Public Health Conference
The 2009 National Environmental Public Health Conference, taking place October 26 – 28, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia, will feature several activities related to the National Conversation:


National Conversation Public Listening Session
National Conversation Listening Session will take place on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm in the Athens Room of the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel (Sheraton Atlanta Hotel / 165 Courtland Street NE / Atlanta, GA 30303).


Conference participants and interested members of the public can attend this open, facilitated discussion to exchange ideas and explore issues related to the National Conversation. Potential discussion topics include the National Conversation structure and process; lessons learned from the nation's historical approach to public health and chemical exposures; the nation's current shortcomings, gaps, and redundancies; and high priority options for better protecting the public from harmful chemical exposures. NCEH/ATSDR staff, RESOLVE staff, and others involved in the National Conversation project will engage in the discussion and collect participant input. This event is free and open to the public.


"Protecting the Public from Toxic Exposures" Plenary


In addition to many relevant breakout sessions, conference participants can attend "Protecting the Public from Toxic Exposures," a plenary session on Tuesday, October 27 from 8:30 to 10:30 am. Dr. Howard Frumkin, M.D., M.P.H, Director, National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and National Conversation co-chair; Paul Anastas, Ph.D., Director, Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering & Teresa and H. John Heinz III Professor in the Practice of Chemistry for the Environment, Yale University; and Christine Norman, Director, Risk Assessment Bureau, Safe Environments Program, Health Canada will participate in this plenary.


Note:  If you will not be attending the conference, keynotes and plenary sessions will also be available by live webcast. Please register for the conference webcast in advance.


National Conversation Booth
The conference exhibition will include a National Conversation project booth. Conference participants can stop by with any questions or comments on the project. Project staff will be available throughout the exhibition, and project co-chairs Dr. Howard Frumkin, Director, NCEH/ATSDR, and Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, Executive Director, Children's Environmental Health Network, are tentatively scheduled to be at the booth Tuesday, October 27 from 12:00 to 12:30 pm. Look for us just outside the exhibit hall at Booth 48.



Future Opportunities


Keep your eye out for more information about the National Conversation Community Conversation Toolkit and web discussion forums. We expect to implement both of these project components in early 2010.


The National Conversation project team

Learn more >>.


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