What’s Energy Development Doing To Our Reproductive Health?

A 6-Week Webinar Series

Dates: April 6th-May 11th

Recent advances in energy development, such as fracking, have allowed energy companies to access vast deposits of crude oil and natural gas, leading to one of the biggest energy booms in U.S. history. Unfortunately, many of the air and water pollutants found near operation sites are developmental and reproductive toxicants. It’s imperative that we increase our knowledge about the health consequences.

In this 6-week Webinar Series by CEH and RHTP, you’ll hear from leading national experts in reproductive and environmental health about how resource extraction and energy development may contribute to adverse reproductive health and developmental effects in humans, especially for maternal/fetal development.

You’ll Discover:

  1. The latest scientific research
  2. How research findings can be used to create opportunities for intervention and prevention
  3. Creative ways to engage communities and policymakers
  4. How race and class affect the distributions of health risks
  5. The importance of community participation in environmental health research, science, regulation and policy-making
  6. Strategies and goals for regulatory development, implementation, research, and education

Who Should Attend:

If you’re a scientist, community organizer, public health professional, clinician and/or health advocate, then you won’t want to miss this.


foetusWEBINAR 1. An Overview: Reproductive & Developmental Health 

When: Mon, Apr 6, 2015 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EDT (Register)


Moderator: Sheila Bushkin, M.D., M.P.H., Institute for Health & the Environment, University at Albany. Dr. Buskin is a member of the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) since 1998. Her specific areas of interest involve chronic disease, aging, environmental health, and continuing medical education (CME).

TOPIC: “Broad Impacts of Fossil Fuel Emissions on Children’s Health and Development
We will review what we currently understand about exposures during prenatal and early postnatal development and will discuss some of the potential health risks from fossil fuels.

  • SPEAKER BIO: Frederica Perera, Dr. P.H., Ph.D., Professor, Columbia University, Director, Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health. Dr. Perera is internationally recognized for pioneering the field of molecular epidemiology, utilizing biomarkers to understand links between environmental exposures and disease.

TOPIC: “Chemical Exposures & Life-Long Reproductive Health Impacts”
We will review what we understand about reproductive biology and environmental contamination exposure. We’ll discuss the role of environmental chemicals in breast development and puberty, increased susceptibility to breast cancer and exposures during early life development of both male and female offspring and life-long impacts from chemical exposure. We’ll also discuss some of the potential health implications of energy development based on what we currently understand about exposures during early reproductive and developmental biology.

  • SPEAKER BIO: Suzanne Fenton, Ph.D., is Group Leader, NIH, Reproductive Endocrinology Group, Mammary Gland Development/Lactation Biology and a reproductive endocrinologist working at the National Toxicology Program Laboratory with the Division of the National Toxicology Program at National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

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Yurly_LeshkovWEBINAR 2.  The Link Between Unconventional Oil & Natural Gas Development & Reproductive Health

When: Mon, Apr 13, 2015 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EDT (Register)


Moderator: Caroline Cox, Research Director, CEH. Caroline leads CEH’s research on toxic exposures, identifying, analyzing and substantiating the scientific bases for CEH’s work to eliminate threats to children and others expose to dangerous chemicals in consumer products.

TOPIC: “Hormonal Activity in Water Samples: Implications for Reproductive Health”
We’ll discuss hormonal activity in water near hydraulic fracturing sites, the potential for endocrine disruption, and the resulting health impacts. We’ll look at the influence of chemicals in the fracking process on the human endocrine system, estrogen action, prenatal origins of adult disease and epigenetics.

  • SPEAKER BIO: Susan Nagel, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health, University of Missouri School of Medicine. Dr. Nagel works in the Reproductive and Perinatal Research clinic focusing on developmental origins of adult disease, fetal programming and endocrine disruption.

TOPIC: “Adverse Birth Outcomes and Natural Gas Development”
We’ll discuss how potential environmental impacts from unconventional natural gas development in Marcellus Shale may influence reproductive health and pregnancy outcomes.

  • SPEAKER BIO: Lisa McKenzie, M.P.H., Ph.D., Research Associate, Colorado School of Public Health, Environmental & Occupational Health. Dr. McKenzie has a background in epidemiology and environmental chemistry. Her research interests include exposure assessment, air pollution and natural gas development.

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122265864WEBINAR 3. Community Grassroots Perspective & Local Policy

When: Mon, Apr 27, 2015 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EDT (Register)


Moderator: Elizabeth Arndorfer, J.D., Reproductive Health Consultant, RHTP. Elizabeth is a consultant with a long history in the women’s reproductive health movement.

TOPIC: “Women & Water”
Multiple chemical disasters have occurred in the Kanawha Valley – otherwise known as “Chemical Valley”– within the past 10 years.  On February 17, 2015, a crude oil tanker train derails and explodes by Kanawha River, Charleston, West Virginia threatening drinking water supplies across 28 miles. In 2014, Freedom Industries leaked a coal-cleaning mixture contaminating the drinking water for 300,000 people. A 2008 explosion at the Bayer CropScience nearly eclipsed another Bhopal Disaster. We’ll discuss these and other historical events and will speak from the grassroots advocacy perspective about community efforts in prevention, preparedness and response planning trying to protect women and vulnerable populations.

  • SPEAKER BIO: Maya Nye, Executive Director, People Concerned About Chemical Safety (based in Kanawha (“Chemical”) Valley, West Virginia). Maya led grassroots efforts to document women’s experiences following the 2014 Freedom Industries Elk River chemical spill. She has won awards for her advocacy work and has testified before the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, and the EPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council.

TOPIC: “Oil and Gas Threats to the Urban Fabric”
Urban environments can be dramatically affected by oil and gas production. We’ll hear about five communities in South Los Angeles have organized to uncover and reduce exposure to contaminants used in the process. We’ll discuss how matters of race and class affect distributions of health risks and the importance of influence of community participation in environmental health research, science, regulation and policy-making.

  • SPEAKER BIO: Martha Arguello, Executive Director, PSR LA. For the past 32 years, Martha has served in the non-profit sector as an advocate, community organizer, and coalition builder. She joined PSR-LA in 1998 to launch the environmental health programs, and became Executive Director in November 2007.

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Oil pumps on sunsetWEBINAR 4: Research Challenges & Best Practices

When: Friday, May 8, 2:00 PM-3:30 PM EDT


Moderator: Ellen Webb, M.P.H., Energy & Health Program Associate, CEH. Ellen is a public health professional working on energy development and maternal and child health education initiatives as part of CEH’s Healthy Energy Program.

TOPIC: “Research Approaches: Challenges & Opportunities”
Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) provides a model with the potential to bridge the gaps between its research prominence and the health of its residents. However, this model presents many challenges to researchers as well. We’ll discuss best practices for assessing local and community needs and how to design a sampling study. We will also discuss some of the challenges faced during this process, as well as lessons learned for environmental exposure assessment using community participatory research methodology to evaluate health outcomes from resource extraction and development.

  • SPEAKER BIO: Robert Harrison, M.D., M.P.H., Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Harris founded and has directed UCSF Occupational Health Services for more than 15 years, and now is a senior attending physician.

TOPIC:  “Research Challenges, Experimental Methods and Infant Health” 
We will discuss recent research utilizing quasi-experimental methods to study the impacts of shale gas development on infant health in the US and specifically the links between in utero environment to later life health and educational attainment. We’ll also discuss some of the challenges as well as the best practices and limitations of current research methodologies.

  • SPEAKER BIO: Elaine Hill, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Rochester Medical Center. Dr. Hill is a pioneer in the study of shale gas development and reproductive health. She is currently involved in early origins research, linking in utero environment to later life health and educational attainment.

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Capital - Washington D.C.WEBINAR 5: Translating Science Into Policy

When: Mon, May 11, 2015, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EDT (Register)


Moderator: Seth B. Shonkoff, Ph.D., M.P.H., Executive Director, PSE Healthy Energy & Environmental Researcher, UC Berkeley. Dr. Shonkoff assesses the health and climate dimensions of oil and gas development in the United States and abroad.

TOPIC:  “The Way Forward”
This panel will focus on linking the reproductive health research to policy, how we need to advance scientific inquiry, professional training, public education and health policies that reduce the impacts of environmental contaminants on reproductive and developmental health. We’ll close the last session with goals for the future and discuss the importance of creating policies that support a truly clean energy future.

  • SPEAKER BIO: Rachel Morello-Frosch, PhD, MPH, Professor, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management, University of California – Berkeley. Dr. Morello-Frosch’s research examines race and class determinants of environmental health among diverse communities in the US with a focus on social inequality, psychosocial stress and how these factors interact with environmental chemical exposures to produce environmental health inequalities.
  • SPEAKER BIO: Kathryn Phillips, Director, Sierra Club, California. As Director, Kathryn leads legislative and regulatory advocacy and overall administration of Sierra Club, California. Kathryn covers or oversees coverage of nearly every environmental issue that crosses the transom at the State Capitol and in key agencies. This includes energy, transportation, wildlife, forestry, water, climate disruption, and air quality.

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