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March 27, 2001

A Forum on the Effects of Environmental Pollutants on Human Health

A presentation sponsored by the South Alabama Network for the Environment, "The Effects of Environmental Pollutants on Human Health," will be held on April 6 at 7 p.m. in the Centennial Hall of Faulkner State Community College in Fairhope. Dr. Wladimir Wertelecki will show how local pollution problems can become the cause of disease and genetic disorders in children, and Dr. Eldon C. Blancher will talk about contaminants such as mercury and lead in our local environment that affect the wellbeing of adults and children. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Wladimir Wertelecki, M. D. is Chairman of the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of South Alabama. Dr. Wertelecki is involved in the Alabama Birth Defects Surveillance and Prevention Program and in the Ukraine Birth Defects Project. Eldon C. Blancher, Ph.D. is Director of Operations of TAI Environmental Sciences, where he is responsible for corporate performance for government and industrial clients. He is a senior scientist performing general project management, modeling, data interpretation and reporting. He has served as toxicology laboratory director from 1986 to the present.

The statistics on children's health are frightening: Asthma in children has increased by more than 72 percent between 1982 and 1994, according to the American Lung Association. Childhood brain and nervous-system cancers in children aged four years and less jumped 53 percent between 1973 and 1995, according to the National Cancer Institute. During the same time period, acute lymphocytic leukemia among children increased 18 percent. Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in teenagers jumped 128 percent. These children with asthma, cancer, and birth defects do not smoke cigarettes, drink alcoholic beverages, or work in dirty industries. Nor can their cancer be the result of something they were exposed to twenty years ago. So what's going on? A growing body of evidence links our children's health problems to chemical exposures while in their mother's wombs, through consumption of breast milk, food, and drinking water, and from their immediate environment.


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