In order to solve today and tomorrow’s environmental challenges, entrepreneur’s across the globe are creating new businesses, technologies, and processes. This session will explore the impact of the environmental entrepreneurship. Our speakers and panel leaders for the 2015 conference are Julia Brody PhD, senior scientist and executive director at Silent Spring Institute, Dr. Polly Hoppin, Research Professor and Program Director at UMass, Lowell, and Ava Anderson, founder of non-toxic beauty product brand Ava Anderson.
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Ava discovered, at the age of 14, the issue of chemicals in personal care products and their hazardous health effects. The more Ava researched, the more concerned she became. She started a blog to talk about where to find safer products. The market is flooded with “organic”, “natural”, “safe” and “pure”, yet there were almost always toxic ingredients included as well. After throwing out most of her products, her mother’s and grandmothers’ too, she still had nothing “Ava Approved” to replace them with, or to recommend.
Ava had become truly disturbed at how consumers were unaware of the risks of common brands and how those who thought they were making safe choices often did not know what was really in the products they were purchasing. After months of research, Ava realized that she needed to create her own products. Through a family friend, she located a manufacturer with research facilities that could develop and produce products to her standards. It was a great challenge to develop these revolutionary formulas, but with her vision and persistence she succeeded. Ava launched with just 6 skincare products in 2009 and has over 80 now in 11 categories (everything from baby to men and home cleaning products) and has signed on more than 7,000 consultants in all 50 states!
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Dr. Julia Brody, senior scientist and executive director at Silent Spring Institute, is a national leader in research on breast cancer and the environment. Silent Spring Institute, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2014, is the only research organization dedicated to breast cancer prevention. The Institute seeks to advance science and then share results with policy makers and the public to inform better decisions to reduce breast cancer risk.
Dr. Brody led a path breaking scientific review connecting breast cancer risk with environmental pollutants, diet, body size, and physical activity, which was published in the American Cancer Society peer-reviewed journal Cancer. This work has been referenced hundreds of times by other researchers and cited as foundational by the President’s Cancer Panel, the Institute of Medicine, and a federal interagency committee (IBCERCC) in recent reports on breast cancer and the environment.
Brody’s current research focuses on developing methods of reporting to people on their own exposures to hormone disruptors and other chemicals of concern when the health effects are uncertain.
She also recently led a study that was the first to show high levels of flame retardants in homes in California, which led to changes in the state’s unique flammability standard for furniture foam. Silent Spring Institute’s Household Exposure Study is the most comprehensive assessment of hormone disruptors in homes, where Americans spend 80% of our time.
Brody’s research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, among others. She publishes in leading scientific journals, including Environmental Health Perspectives and American Journal of Public Health. Her research collaborators include investigators at Harvard, the University of California, Berkeley, US Centers for Disease Control and elsewhere. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized her research with an Environmental Merit Award in 2000, and she has been honored by the Heroes Tribute of the Breast Cancer Fund. She presented one of the Distinguished Lectures at the National Cancer Institute in 2002 and the Keystone Science Lecture at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in 2009. She serves on the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council, appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and she is as an advisor to the California Breast Cancer Research Program and breast cancer activist organizations. Brody was featured in an interview on NPR’s On Point, and her work has been covered extensively by the media, including Consumer Reports, Forbes, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, and Time Magazine.
Dr. Brody is an adjunct assistant professor at the Brown University School of Medicine. She earned her PhD at the University of Texas at Austin and her AB at Harvard University.
For over two decades, Dr. Polly Hoppin has led initiatives to understand links between environmental exposures and chronic disease, and find solutions, working with stakeholders across the public and private sectors. In the 1990s, she served as the non-governmental organization representative on the US delegation to international chemicals policy negotiations, and helped catalyze policies and practices to reduce pesticide use globally and in the Midwest. As a Senior Advisor to the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton Administration, Polly led national and regional initiatives to reduce environmental risks to children’s health, with a particular focus on asthma. Her research and strategic convening of stakeholders was instrumental in the establishment of the Asthma Regional Council in New England, a multi-state multi-agency collaboration established to bring asthma under control, with a special focus on the environmental contributors to the disease. Since 2004, Dr. Hoppin has been a Research Professor at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and Environmental Health Program Director at the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production. Her current work focuses on developing strategies to prevent chronic disease upstream, including reducing the use of hazardous chemicals known to contribute to asthma and cancer. In 2013, Dr. Hoppin co-founded a foundation-funded initiative to develop a national network to advance a “Cancer-Free Economy,” which now includes over 100 organizations Polly has served on numerous boards and committees relating to environmental health and health policy. She received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University and her doctorate in public health from Johns Hopkins University.