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Living Well

Women for a Healthy Environment (WHE) Newsletter

Fall 2013


Champions for a healthier community.

In This Issue
Thanks to Our Funders
Food City Fellows Recap
Farm to Community Conference
Safe Chemicals Act Update
Target-Clean Up Your Beauty Aisle
Upcoming Events
Giving Corner
Quick Links

Special Thanks
Special thanks to our generous funders:


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There is always lots of great information to share with you in September. For those parents who have children bringing home back to school supply lists, don't forget to download our Green Guide for Back to School. You will find tips and resources for reducing exposures to toxic chemicals that could end up in a backpack or lunch box. 


September is Local Food Month. There are many farmers' markets across western PA for you to visit. Harvesting is in full swing, so take a moment to talk with a farmer at the market. You'll both benefit from this great experience. To learn about Local Food Month events across western PA, click here 


September also marks the end to another successful Food City Fellows program. With the gracious financial assistance from the Jack Buncher Foundation and Brooks Fdn-Education Fdn at PNC Charitable Trust and community support from NeighborHOOD United, WHE transformed a vacant lot in the Larimer neighborhood of the East End of Pittsburgh. Students learned about sustainability of a community, where their food comes from and how to prepare healthier meals. Please see below for before and after garden photos!


This month we are working in collaboration with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics to raise awareness about harmful chemicals found in everyday products on store shelves. Through the Mind the Store campaign, we reached out to Target stores across the region and asked them to remove products that contain the Hazardous 100+ chemicals including:

triclosan, BPA/BPS, toxic flame retardants, formaldehyde

and heavy metals. For a link to our letter, click here.


We are pleased to report that other PA organizations also signed on to this effort, requesting retailers to remove chemicals of high concern from the supply chain to better protect our Great Lakes ecosystem. Those organizations are: Dr. David Dausey and Mercyhurst University Graduate School of Public Health, Lake Erie Region Conservancy, PA Lake Erie Watershed Association, PA Sea Grant, Sr. Pat Lupo and the Benedictine Sisters.


Lastly, we are excited to announce great programming opportunities this fall that focus on food, consumer product safety, environment and community health, including the Pittsburgh Environment and Health Conference scheduled for October 25th. See the events section below for more details.




Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis

Executive Director


Food City Fellows Recap
August brought a close to the third year of the Food City Fellows (FCF) program. Eight students, under the leadership of WHE's intern, Erin Kelly, worked hard to create the new "Eastside Community Hope Garden" on Lincoln Avenue in the Larimer neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Only a couple of weeks ago, the site was an overgrown, vacant lot. Now, there is a beautiful garden that provides fresh produce for the community and is a gathering space for neighbors. The students spent eight weeks learning about the agricultural system, community engagement, environmental issues and how to make nutritious snacks. We congratulate the Food City Fellows program on another successful year and thank the students who worked so hard in making their vision a reality! We thank our partner, NeighborHOOD United and garden sponsorsJack Buncher Foundation and Brooks Fdn-Education Fdn at PNC Charitable Trust. Enjoy the before and after garden photos below!


Teens on the Eco Scene
WHE is conducting food and consumer product safety programming for high schools, after school programs and community organizations. This fall we are working with five high schools and two nonprofits. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about the curriculum or hosting a spring program, please contact Chelsea Holmes at 412-420-2290 or


Safe Chemicals Act Update

As you may have read in earlier emails, the Safe Chemicals Act of 2013 was replaced in May with the Chemical Safety Improvement Act. The good news is this bill has bi-partisan support. The bad news is the current bill needs strengthened. The bill was brought before the US Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee hearing in July. Read WHE's executive director's response to the hearing.




WHE also sent letters to area Target stores requesting managers to . determine if the Hazardous 100+ chemicals are present in products they sell, including product parts and packaging, and if so that the store develop a public action plan that includes a timeline to address these chemicals. Unfortunately, WHE has not received a response from any of the managers...and we're not alone. Through a Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families action alert over 55,000 emails have been sent to Target without a single response.


We know it's not Target's fault that toxic chemicals are in the supply chain. Our federal laws on toxic chemicals are severely broken and the effects have rippled down from product manufacturers, retailers and into our homes. But that doesn't let them, or other retailers, off the hook. We all play a part in cleaning up the shopping aisles -- you're doing your part -- ask Target to do theirs.

Feel free to share your experience with us! 



Target - Clean Up Your Beauty Aisle

As an opportunity to raise awareness about the need for reform of laws that guide safety of personal care products and cosmetics, WHE is collaborating with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics to launch a campaign that asks Target stores to clean up the beauty aisle.


Why Target? We shop at Target stores just like you do! And we want to raise management's awareness that not all of the products on their stores shelves have been tested for safety, and many contain harmful ingredients. Target was one of the stores WHE staff members surveyed last fall for the national Retailer Report. We know they have made some strides in terms of offering safer product alternatives, but they can do better.


Target Beauty Aisle CampaignHere's what you can do...

On your next trip to Target, download the action kit and take a comment card with you. Ask Target to create a storewide safe cosmetics policy to protect you and your family from unsafe chemical exposures from the personal care products you use every day. And feel free to let us know the response you receive!


GOOD NEWS: In case you missed our recent Facebook post, Procter & Gamble made an announcement that the company will remove triclosan and diethyl phthalate from all of its products by 2014. It's a great start, but we still have a ways to go!


 Upcoming Events


October 19, 2013 - GASP and Athletes United are very excited to announce the Clean Air Dash and Festival brought to Pittsburgh with the support of the Heinz Endowments' Breathe Project!  This 5k race event will be held at the South Side Riverfront Park, along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. 


October 23, 2013 - WHE will celebrate National Food Day with a documentary screening of Hungry for Change at the Carnegie Science Center from 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm. WHE will host a panel discussion following the movie. This event is free, but donations at the door are greatly appreciated! Please note: there is a $5 parking fee. To register, click here.


October 25, 2013 - The Pittsburgh Environment and Health Conference will be held from 8:00 am - 4:00 pm at the David Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. Hear from national and local experts about the impacts the environment has on our health. Keynote speakers include: Nancy Alderman, Cecil Corbin-Mark, Lois Gibbs, Edward Humes, Richard Louv, David Orr and Ted Schettler, MD.


November 3, 2013 - From 1:00-4:00 pm WHE will host a Mother-Daughter workshop at Rodef Shalom located 4905 Fifth Avenue in Oakland. With the generous support of UPMC Health Plan, WHE will present a workshop that highlights local youth entrepreneurs who make their own safe, natural products. Attendees will participate in hands-on activities that focus on creating a healthier home environment To register, click here.


December 2013 - Stay tuned for more information about our upcoming vendor fair. Featuring food, personal care products, items for the home, children's toys and jewelry, this is the perfect event for all of your holiday gift-giving needs. You will have the opportunity to purchase gift items that are all natural, organic, local, recycled and upcycled!




Giving Corner


Help us to offer you great programming
and advocate for change!
WHE has not only advocated on behalf of issues related to our health and the environment -- pushing for safer reforms on chemical policy and other important topics in our region -- WHE has also brought our incredibly valuable events and workshops that have educated our communities, putting them on the pathway to healthier living.  Through online communication, we hope the articles and reports we share with each of you have been valuable to understanding the latest scientific findings between our health and the environment.

Our ability to continue to bring our families and friends across western Pennsylvania events and workshops and advocate for policy change that protects our health depends on our ability to fund these activities. 

Today, your support is more important than ever. You can help us in our efforts to create a happier, healthier, better tomorrow for yourself, your family, and the community.
Women for a Healthy Environment
  • Educating the community about environmental health risks
  • Empowering the community with reliable scientific information
  • Advocating for policy solutions that better protect our health and environment

Special thanks to WHE's host organization, The Children's Institute.


  Women for a Healthy Environment    ::    1405 Shady Avenue   ::   Pittsburgh, PA 15217

phone: 412.420.2290    ::    fax: 412.420.4450      ::     email:


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