An Educational Experience Linking
Health and the Environment
through Activism, Research and Art


Unwitting guinea pigs:
health and the synthetic contaminants
in our bodies


Dianne Dumanoski,
author of Our Stolen Future


6:30 - 10:00 p.m.
Library, Forten Hall, Fourth Floor

Since the end of World War II, the chemical industry has flooded the earth with trillions of pounds of novel, man-made chemicals. This has been nothing less than a great global experiment, which changed the chemistry of  our own bodies. The question about how these contaminants in our bodies affect health has been with us since Rachel Carson first raised it in Silent Spring forty years ago. Today, this question has taken on new urgency with the discovery that man-made chemicals can sabotage the body's internal communication system, jeopardizing your children’s ability to learn, to fight off disease, and reproduce. We had long assumed that the low levels of contaminants routinely found everywhere in the environment were too small to do any real harm. Now, unfortunately, we are finding that this simply isn't true.

Dianne Dumanoski is an author and environmental journalist, whose credentials in the field date back to Earth Day 1970.  She got herstart in journalism as a producer for WGBH-TV in Boston, one of the nation's leading public stations, and then spent four years as a television reporter before taking the unorthodox step of switching to print. As a staff writer for The Boston Phoenix, a weekly specializing in arts and politics, she wrote about energy, nuclear safety, and environmental issues, as well as desegregation,religious cults, and transsexuals. She joined The Boston Globe  in 1979, where she spent 17 years reporting on such major stories as the Solidarity movement in Poland, the Claus von Bulow trial, and acid rain.

From 1983 to 1993, she worked full-time on the environmental beat at the Globe and was among the pioneers reporting on the new generation of global environmental issues, including ozone depletion, global warming, and the accelerating loss of species. Her reporting combined expertise in the scientific questions with a strong interest in the political process of making policy. She covered not only the scientific expeditions to discover why Antarctica was suffering dramatic ozone loss but also the negotiations on the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty signed in 1987 to phase out the man-made chemicals attacking the ozone layer. In June of 1992, she reported on the Earth Summit in Rio.

She also wrote One Earth, a unique monthly environmental column for the Globe's  Health and Science section, where she explored cultural, spiritual, and psychological dimensions of the environmental movement as well as innovative ideas such as "green" taxes.

With scientists Theo Colborn and Pete Myers, she wrote the book Our Stolen Future , released in March 1996 by Dutton, which lays out the emerging scientific case that a wide range of man-made chemicals can disrupt delicate hormone systems and derail development. The book, which has been translated into more than a dozen languages, explores evidence that these chemicals have already disruptedsexual development, reproduction, and behavior in some animal populations and pose a hazard to humans as well.

In 1999, excerpts from her essay "Rethinking Environmentalism" appeared in a new anthology of environmental thought titled Our Land, Ourselves:Readings on People and Place.



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Contact Information:
Krishna Mallick, Coordinator, Peace Institute, 978-542-6298, or
Patricia Gozemba, English Department, 978-542-7137, or
Patricia Ould, Sociology Department, 978-542-6272.