Alma Public Affairs students and faculty continue to work with the results of the Intergenerational Risk Conference n Conference, hosted from April 27-29, 2016 at Alma College. Currently, we are working with partners at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, with a coalition of PBB-exposed farm families, and with the Pine River Superfund Citizen Task Force on several health studies to follow-up on the long term health impacts of exposures to fire retardants [especially those related to PBB] and pesticides.
At left is a photo of the opening session of the Intergenerational Health Conference that focused on what is known and needs to be known about the impacts on later generations of exposure to dangerous fire retardants and pesticides such as those that were accidentally introduced into the food chain in Michigan in 1973.
The conference brought together leading environmental-health experts from across the United States and Canada with an audience that included citizens exposed to flame retardants in the 1970s and public health and environmental officials.
Public Affairs Institute students and recent graduates played fundamental roles in organizing and leading the conference. Reflecting the interdisciplinary structure of the Public Affairs program, these students have majors in biology, history, political science and two self-designed majors in global health. Their work was support by generous donations from the Alma Student Congress, the college itself, the Mid-Michigan District Health Department, the Pine River Superfund Citizen Task Force (a U.S.EPA community advisory group), the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, and the Science and Environmental Health Network.
In August 2016, the final report on the conference deliberations was released. Conference attendees advocated several action items to raise awareness of the long-term consequences of ineffective responses to environmental contamination.
The Conference Site History
The conference was held in the sister cities of Alma and St. Louis, Mich. As a consequence of industrial chemical pollution, St. Louis has three Superfund sites. There are two books from Michigan State University Press which provide background for the history. Joyce Egginton, The Poisoning of Michigan and Edward Lorenz, Civic Empowerment in an Age of Corporate Greed, and a helpful timeline is available on Michigan Radio’s website.