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Jan. 17: Carnegie Mellon Hosts Series of Environmental Talks


Lauren Ward

Jonathan Potts

Carnegie Mellon University Hosts Series of Environmental Talks

Speakers Address Effects of Endocrine Disruption on Environment and Human Health    

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University will host a series of speakers this spring who will explore how toxic chemicals impact the environment and human health. "Endocrine Disruption: Extending Rachel Carson's Legacy," part of the University Lecture Series and the Distinguished Lecture Series in Environmental Science, will feature three separate talks on the powerful ways that small molecules called endocrine disruptors interfere with normal development in the reproductive, neurological and immune systems of animals and humans. All lectures in the series, which is sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for Education, are free and open to the public. Each event will take place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the Adamson Wing of Baker Hall.     

The university will launch the lecture series on Monday, Feb. 5, with "A Revolution in Environmental Health Sciences: New Opportunities To Prevent Genetic Diseases" by John Peterson Myers, CEO and founder of Environmental Health Services. During the talk, Myers will explain how synthetic chemicals can redirect genetically controlled cellular processes and harm our biology. Myers co-wrote the landmark book on endocrine disruption, "Our Stolen Future," and maintains two influential environmental health Web sites: and   

Other lectures in the series include:

  • Feb. 12: "From Silent Spring to Silent Night: Hermaphroditic Frogs, Breast Cancer and Pesticides," Tyrone Hayes, associate professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley;
  • March 5: "Environmental Challenges to Human Fertility: Three Case Studies," Shanna Helen Swan, professor in the departments of obstetrics and gynecology, environmental medicine, and community and preventive medicine, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester;

"It's important to understand the big themes in the toxicity of synthetic chemicals," said Terry Collins, the Thomas Lord Professor of Chemistry in the Mellon College of Science and an instrumental organizer of the lecture series. "The chemical sector is doing a good job of protecting the public from chemicals that can kill. But in recent years, it has become clear that numerous man-made chemicals interfere with cellular signaling mechanisms that control development. Both animal and human studies have linked the altered signaling associated with typical exposures to these chemicals with developmental impairments. The lecturers in the series will highlight that managing endocrine disruptors is a critical challenge for a sustainable civilization."

K-12 teachers who attend the talks can receive Act 48 credit. For more information on Act 48 credit, contact Judy Hallinen at 412-268-1498.