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Indybay Feature

Poisons in the Press: Deciding for Yourself What's 'Safe'

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Event Type:
Front desk
Location Details:
Commonwealth Club
595 Market Street, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105

News about toxic chemicals, as reported via newspaper, radio, TV, the Internet and, increasingly, social media, is pervasive. People hear controversial and frequently conflicting information about contamination of the air, drinking water and food supply. Is ozone beneficial or detrimental? Is red wine good for you or bad? What about seafood? One minute, a new pharmaceutical is a wonder drug, and the next it is recalled. People are understandably left to wonder, "But is it safe?"

Uncertainty is part and parcel of virtually all aspects of our lives, and the risk to our health from chemicals is no exception. Frequently the answer is, "Well, it depends." It can depend on factors such as the properties of the chemical, the amount of exposure, the gender, age, state of health, and genetic makeup of the individual, etc.

In this program, a distinguished panel of toxicologists and environmental journalists will touch upon the basics of the science of toxicology and how it is communicated to the public, sometimes successfully and sometimes not. They will discuss how they interact to try to provide scientifically accurate and meaningful information, and offer insights into how citizens can make informed decisions on toxic risks in the absence of certainty.

Linda S. Birnbaum, Ph.D., Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
John Incardona, Ph.D., M.D., Supervisory Research Toxicologist, Northwest Fisheries Science Center
Kent R. Olson, M.D., Medical Director of the California Poison Control Center

Marla Cone, Editor-In-Chief, Environmental Health News
Jane Kay, San Francisco- based environment writer
Janet Raloff, Senior Editor, Science News

Moderated by:
Chris Bowman, Chairman, Environment-Energy News Initiative, Capital Public Radio

Organized and introduced by:
Philip Wexler, Technical Information Specialist, National Library of Medicine's Toxicology and Environmental Health Information Program
Added to the calendar on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 10:58PM
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