Raising Healthy Children

The Newsletter of the Children's Environmental Health Center                     June 2011

Our Mission: Protecting Children Against Environmental Threats to Health

Dr. Landrigan

Dr. Philip J. Landrigan

Director, CEHC

In This Issue
Greening Our Children
5 Easy Steps
CEHC in the Press
Do Leaf Blowers Affect Respiratory Health?
About the CEHC

Dear Friends,

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With the summer quickly approaching, we want to make sure you are updated on all of CEHC's activities.  For quick updates on our Center's research, our doctors in the press, and tips to protect our children from environmental exposures in the home, follow MountSinaiCEHC on Twitter or click the button below:


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The month of May is always a busy time at CEHC.  With great pleasure, I would like to highlight some of our Center's accomplishments over the past month.  In this issue:   

  • We recap the fourth annual Mount Sinai Greening Our Children benefit luncheon.  With over $700,000 raised, it was the most successful luncheon to date.  Check out press coverage, pictures, and a full recap of the event! 
  • In case you missed Greening Our Children, we share tips and slides from the luncheon's panel discussion.  Read Healthy Child's 5 Easy Steps and learn how to protect your children from environmental exposures at home.
  • We provide quick links to CEHC's top press coverage over the past month.  See what our team is saying about learning disabilities, pesticides, and endocrine disruptors. 
  • And finally, we highlight how leaf blowers - and the particles they disperse - affect our children's health.  Our Center has submitted testimony on this issue, and I am quoted in a recent New York Times article on a leaf blower ban.  

On behalf of our Center, I wish you and your family a happy summer! 



Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc

Director, Children's Environmental Health Center

Mount Sinai School of Medicine


2011 goc

Co-Chair Eunice Burnett, Vice Chair of the CEHC Executive Board Rhonda Sherwood, speaker Christopher Gavigan, and Co-Chair Elisabeth Wolfe at Greening Our Children.

CEHC Raises Over $700,000 at 4th Annual
Mount Sinai Greening Our Children

Parents, scientists, and community members gathered to support research into the environmental causes of children's disease.

On May 9, the Mount Sinai Children's Environmental Health Center (CEHC) held its fourth annual benefit luncheon, Mount Sinai Greening Our Children, at the Hyatt Regency in Greenwich, Connecticut.  Seven hundred attended and helped raise over $700,000 for research at CEHC - making this year's luncheon our most successful to date, thanks to co-chairs Eunice Burnett and Elisabeth Wolfe and their benefit planning committee.


In addition to supporting the Center's research, this year's Greening Our Children taught guests how to live a greener and healthier life.  The luncheon featured a new Green Expo, which highlighted eco-friendly products for the home, and a meet-and-greet poster session with CEHC researchers, which taught guests about the cutting-edge research the Center is conducting.


The luncheon concluded with a panel discussion, moderated by actress and environmental activist Jessica Capshaw. Panel speakers included:  

  • Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc, director of CEHC, who outlined why today's children are facing new diseases in increasing numbers.    
  • Shanna Swan, PhD, the newest addition to the CEHC team, who discussed her research on endocrine disruptors and their effects on the health of women and children.
  • Christopher Gavigan, children's health advocate, who taught practical solutions to protect our children from environmental exposures in the home.  See Christopher's 5 Easy Steps, also in this issue.  

Want to learn more?

To read about the current state of our children's health and learn what you can do to help protect them, see Dr. Landrigan's and Christopher's presentation slides from Mount Sinai Greening Our Children.


Missed the event? 

E Magazine and the Fairfield County Look were there!

Read "Confronting the Children's Health Crisis" in E Magazine and "Benefit Seeks to Green Our Children" in the Greenwich Post.  Our online journal and the Fairfield County Look have photos from Greening Our Children, including images of...



The Panel Discussion  

Panelists: Shanna Swan, PhD, Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc, Christopher Gavigan, and Jessica Capshaw.


The Green Expo

Chrissy Edwards and Kelly Malloy.


The Poster Session

galvez goc

Adrianne Singer and CEHC's Maida Galvez, MD, MPH.


The Silent Auction

silent auction  


Interested in attending next year's Greening Our Children?

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The 5 Easy Steps:
Simple Solutions to Protect Our Children

How can we prevent environmental exposures at home?  

Begin with these 5 easy steps, said Christopher Gavigan at Mount Sinai Greening Our Children.


 Published courtesy of Healthy Child Healthy World, www.healthychild.org 


1. Avoid pesticides.


Action:  Use non-toxic or least toxic pest remedies like using soapy water to kill ants and boiling water to kill weeds.  Prevent pests through good sanitation.  Remove shoes before entering your home.


2. Use non-toxic products.


Action:  Read labels and ask questions about what chemicals are in products you buy.  Try making your own cleaners.  Use fewer body care products and those made from plant-based ingredients.  Look for furnishings made from natural materials.


3. Clean up indoor air.


Action:  The products we use are a major source of indoor air pollution, so opt for the most non-toxic choices.  Opening windows for even a few minutes a day helps ventilate and growing plants helps improve air quality.  For special situations, use an air purifier to capture risky contaminants.


4. Eat healthy.


Action:  Start making your food instead of buying prepared foods.  Buying whole foods reduces your exposure to the many synthetic additives found in processed foods.  Opt for organic when possible.  Eat less meat and more nuts, seeds, whole grains, and produce.


5. Be wise with plastics.


Action:  Reduce your use of plastics - especially with foods and beverages.  Look for natural alternatives to plastics like textiles, solid wood, bamboo, glass, and stainless steel.  If you do buy plastic, opt for products you can recycle or re-purpose.  And, choose safer plastics like #2, #4, or #5.   


Learn more at Healthy Child Healthy World.


CEHC in the Press


This month, our doctors appeared in the press to discuss pesticides, endocrine disruptors, Lyme disease, and learning disabilities.



One in six children has a developmental disability - increasing by 17% over two years, Dr. Landrigan tells USA Today.  Learn more.


Do pesticides cause Lyme disease?  No, says CEHC's Dr. Mana Mann in the magazine Mother Jones.  Learn more.


Are there connections between pesticide exposure and lower IQ, autism, or asthma?  Dr. Landrigan contributes to the WebMD expert blog, Healthy Begins Here.  Learn more.


Exposure to endocrine disruptors causes autistic-like behavior in children, says CEHC's Dr. Amir Miodovnik.  Learn more or read his new paper in the peer-reviewed journal NeuroToxicology.


How can we protect our children from pesticide exposure?  Dr. Landrigan argues for tighter regulations of pesticides in food in the Washington Post.  Learn more.



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Do Leaf Blowers Pose Threats

to Children's Respiratory Health?


On May 26, the New York Times highlighted a recent community initiative that would ban the use of leaf blowers from April to October in Greenwich, Connecticut.


Proponents of this ban argue that leaf blowers not only add extra noise during the spring and summer seasons, but they also blow harmful debris into the air, posing threats to respiratory health.  


In support of the Greenwich ban, Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc, director of the Children's Environmental Health Center (CEHC), submitted a testimony outlining how leaf blowers pose hazards to human health, especially the health of children.  Dr. Landrigan was also quoted in the New York Times about this ban.


How do leaf blowers affect our children's health? 


Leaf blowers create large volumes of air pollution.  When leaf blowers disperse particles into the air, they create airborne particulate matter.  Many times, these particles are small enough that they can be inhaled deeply into the lungs.


Leaf blowers emit harmful chemicals into the air.  Since leaf blowers function by burning gasoline, they also emit high levels of carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen, which contribute to the formation of summer smog.  Inhaling this pollution can provoke asthma in children.


Leaf blowers create high frequency noise that can damage children's hearing.  The ears of infants and young children are especially vulnerable to the high intensity noise that leaf blowers produce, as their auditory systems are undergoing rapid growth and development.


Leaf blowers disperse materials into the air that can lead to eye injury. Because of the high energy that they create, leaf blowers can propel pebbles and small sticks into the air, causing serious eye injury.  Young children are most vulnerable to these injuries.


In the absence of bans on leaf blowers in many communities, Dr. Landrigan advises that children are kept away from yards when leaf blowers are in use.


Learn more in the New York Times.




Formally established in 2007, the Mount Sinai Children's Environmental Health Center builds on Dr. Philip J. Landrigan's three decades of work in children's environmental health and fifteen years of research in environmental pediatrics at Mount Sinai. CEHC has established itself as a leading source of scientifically credible information on issues related to children's health and the environment.

Our mission is to protect children against environmental threats to health. We do this by guiding, supporting, and building the programs of the Department Preventive Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Current projects include:

The Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU), our clinical arm which cares for children with toxic environmental exposures.


Pilot Project Research Grants Program, CEHC's signature program, providing seed grants for Mount Sinai-wide initiatives into the environmental causes of learning disabilities (including autism), asthma, obesity/diabetes, and childhood cancer.

The Endocrine Disruptors Project, studying the effects of endocrine disruptors on neurodevelopmental disorders, obesity, early puberty, and other alterations in the proper functioning of the endocrine system.


The Autism and Learning Disabilities Discovery and Prevention Project, a multi-disciplinary, inter-departmental study recently launched to explore the link between neurodevelopmental disorders and environmental exposures.

Growing Up Healthy in East Harlem, tracing the effects of pollutant exposures on children's health in the inner city.
To make a donation supporting CEHC's work, please send a check payable to:


The Mount Sinai School of Medicine

 ATTN: Children's Environmental Health Center


Mail to:
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Mount Sinai Development, Box 1049
One Gustave L. Levy Place
New York, NY 10029
Click here to donate online.
Please designate: CEHC (Children's Environmental Health Center) Fund

Telephone: 212-824-7125
Mail: One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1057, New York, NY 10029 

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