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Your Environment. Your Health.


Previous Community Forums

Air Pollution Community Forum

Detroit, Michigan
June 18, 2013

  • Industrial Complex
    Pollution from industrial sites, such as this one near Zug Island, is a source of health and environmental justice concern for nearby residents.
    (Photo courtesy of John Schelp)
  • Forum Attendees
    The panel included representatives from Michigan state government, community groups, UM, the Sierra Club, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
    (Photo courtesy of John Schelp)
  • Michelle Martinez, of the Consortium of Hispanic Agencies, and Linda Birnbaum, Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
    Michelle Martinez, of the Consortium of Hispanic Agencies, expressed her group's reservations about Detroit's environmental quality.
    (Photo courtesy of John Schelp)

The University of Michigan and NIEHS co-hosted a community forum on Air Pollution at First Congregational Church in Detroit. Participants described health problems in their neighborhoods and learned about research to prevent diseases related to the environment. One neighbor noted. “It’s good to see scientists, regulators, state officials, activists, and the community together at this forum.”

Air Pollution Community Forum

Birnbaum headlines Detroit Community Forum

Seattle Waterways and Your Health

Seattle, Washington
Portage Bay Cafe
April 18, 2013

  • April 2013 Seattle Community Forum
    Community Forum was held at café in downtown Seattle.
    (Photo courtesy of John Schelp)
  • Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D.
    Dr. Birnbaum describes NIEHS research in Washington state.
  • Valerie Segrest
    Valerie Segrest, nutritionist and Muckleshoot Tribal member, participates in the forum.
  • Ship in port, on the Duwamish River
    Container ship in port, on the Duwamish River.
  • Industrial site on the Duwamish River.
    Industrial site on the Duwamish River.
  • Seattle waterfront
    Seattle waterfront.

Linda Birnbaum joined local researchers, government officials, and industry experts at a public forum on the health impacts and pollution in Seattle's working river, the Duwamish. Seven short, lively presentations were followed by questions and discussion. The public forum was an opportunity to hear various perspectives about the historical, environmental, cleanup, and health issues on the Duwamish.

The Port of Seattle, Boeing, and other industries are located on the river. The Duwamish Superfund site, a 5.5 mile stretch of the river that flows into Elliott Bay, is one of the most polluted places in the United States. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its proposed cleanup plan for the site on February 28, and this timely forum occurred during the 90-day public comment period on EPA's proposed plan.

The diverse, historic Georgetown and South Park neighborhoods along the Duwamish are home to a disproportionate number of low-income, Hispanic, and recent immigrant residents. The river is also part of the traditional fishing grounds of three Northwest tribes.

Although a Washington State, Department of Health advisory warned residents not to eat fish or shellfish from the Duwamish River, health officials know that many people still subsidize their diets with the contaminated fish. They do so because of economic necessity, a misunderstanding of the danger, or an acceptance of the health risks. (Source: Environmental Factor, NIEHS Monthly Newsletter)

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