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Biologist, Author and Cancer Survivor to Speak at Aquinas - Sep 25, 2003

September 25, 2003 - Biologist, Author and Cancer Survivor to Speak at Aquinas - Sep 25, 2003


GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN (September 16, 2003) - Biologist, author and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert on environmental links to cancer. In her talk "The Myth of Living Safely in a Toxic World," Steingraber will address the most important health issues of our time: the growing body of evidence linking cancer to environmental contamination. The public is invited to come to this informative free presentation and discover what can be done to eliminate the environmental connections to cancer. Steingraber will speak on Monday, October 6 at 7:00 p.m. in the Aquinas College Wege Student Center Ballroom. Her visit to Aquinas is sponsored by the Jane Hibbard Idema Women's Studies Center.

At a noontime luncheon on Monday, October 6, Steingraber will speak on "Women, Wisdom, Nature: How the Environment Affects Women's Health." The cost is $100 per person and reservations can be made by calling (616) 632-2824. Proceeds benefit the Jane Hibbard Idema Women's Studies Center.

In her highly acclaimed book "Living Downstream: A Scientist's Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment," Steingraber brings together data on toxins and cancer, calling for a "human rights response" to the cancer epidemic. She believes much of our exposure to toxins comes from the air we breathe and the water in which we bathe. Drinking bottled water or filtered water does not shield us from contaminants in our water supply. In her talk she will demonstrate the importance of political work toward environmental policy changes based on what is known about toxins and health issues.

The most recent addition to Steingraber's list of acclaimed publications is "Having Faith: An Ecologist's Journey to Motherhood." In this book, she shows how chemicals go about their dirty business in the bodies of those we love the most: our babies. There is a discussion of thalidomide and its disastrous aftermath and of what she refers to as the dirty dozen: the persistent organic pollutants (POPS), the most prominent of which are PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), dioxins and furans. In addition we have some newcomers such as flame retardant PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers).

After receiving her master's degree in English from Illinois State University, she went on to earn her doctorate in biology from the University of Michigan. She has taught at Columbia College, Chicago and held visiting fellowships at the University of Illinois, Radcliffe/Harvard University and Northeastern University. Steingraber is the author of "Post Diagnosis," a volume of poetry and co-author of a work on ecology and human rights in Africa, "The Spoils of Famine." She was named a woman of the year by Ms. Magazine in 1997 and was awarded the first annual Altman Award by the Jenifer Altman Foundation for the inspiring and poetic use of science to elucidate the causes of cancer.