Healthy Homes.Sierra Club


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Healthy Homes.Sierra Club

  1. 1. the leaf NEWSLETTER OF THE NORTHWEST COOK COUNTY GROUP OF THE SIERRA CLUB | SUMMER 2007 Creating Healthy Homes IN ISSUE THIS Chair’s Letter By SHARON WEINSTEIN, R.N. A recap of clearing invasive buckthorn on Earth Day We’d like to think that our homes are PAGE 16 safe havens. But if we’re not careful, certain products and designs can create health Spring Valley Events risks. Pollutant levels inside our homes and A schedule of Spring Valley offices may be two to five times higher than events from July to October the air outside. Combine that fact with the PAGE 17 realization that we spend 75 to 90 percent of our time indoors and we can see why indoor Program Schedule air quality has become a major concern. The goings-on of the NWCCG Multiple-chemical sensitivity is a every year is making people sick. for the next few months heightened reaction to substances that cause Symptoms and health effects range PAGE 17 symptoms ranging from respiratory ailments from mild short-term acute effects, such as to depression and anxiety. The cause, the sneezing, itchy eyes, and general discomfort, prevalence, and even the existence of this to more serious long-term effects, such as For the most up-to-date news, and other disorders, such as fibromyalgia—a respiratory disorders, lung cancer, and a be sure to visit us on the Web: musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder— weakened immune system. are the subjects of debate. The growing And, some people report that they react to consensus, however, is that the flood of new NWCook chemicals introduced into the environment PLEASE TURN TO PAGE 18 Veterinarians and Wildlife Biology By SUZIE CROMBIE date, the program has helped educate at White Oak Conservation Center and 300 veterinarians, many of whom half at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Envirovet was started in 1991 by voluntarily come back to lecture, Institution in Florida. Val Beasley, of the College of Veterinary guide field exercises, and mentor new White Oak maintains genetically Medicine of the University of Illinois, to students. Students in the program diverse populations of endangered carry out his lifelong vision of bringing come from all over the world, creating species and leads professional efforts veterinary medicine together with a diverse learning environment and to improve veterinary care, develop wildlife biology. Though a small-animal establishing a network for field work holistic animal management techniques, veterinarian himself, he wanted to do after the program ends. and better understand the biology of more in the domain of the ecosystem. The program’s first session focuses critically endangered species. Envirovet is an intensive course on terrestrial and aquatic wildlife Students also travel to St. for veterinarians and students whose and ecosystem health in developed Catherine’s Island, a location closed alumni include Joan Embery, of Johnny countries. It provides four weeks of to the public, where they learn about Carson fame; Leslie Dierauf, who directs lecture, field experience and laboratory radio tracking of free-ranging wildlife, the National Wildlife Health Center in work that demonstrate wildlife health geographical aspects of conservation, Madison, Wisconsin; and Lawrence in the context of the ecosystem health and in situ stewardship of amphibians, Mugisha, who runs the Ngamba Island and what, they, as veterinarians, PLEASE TURN TO PAGE 17 Chimpanzee sanctuary in Uganda. To can do. Half of this session is spent
  2. 2. From the Chair Earth Day was a great success! If the day Over 120 volunteers cut brush seemed to flow and sawed, hauled and burned the smoothly, this invasive buckthorn. Others planted is largely due to oaks and some picked up roadside the many Master trash. Our energy was fueled by Stewards who members of Boy Scout Troop 495 participated. (Elk Grove Village) and Cub Scout These volunteers Troop 286 (Arlington Heights). were always Everyone worked hard and we there—offering really appreciate their helping their friendly hands. expertise, Some of our more notable brush tightening up a cutters included John Rogner, a burning brush field supervisor with the U.S. Fish pile, encouraging and Wildlife Service, Cook County a tired beginner. Which group was one of the main sponsors of the event? Commissioner Mike Quigley, and Thank you to Dave Congresswoman Melissa Bean and Cook, Kim Keper, efforts. her nephews. I want to thank John, Ginger Underwood, Jim Voris and Our Earth Day event was co- Mike and Congresswoman Bean for John Yapelli. sponsored by the Northwest Cook their continued support of Spring The Northwest Cook County County Group, Sierra Club, the Creek. Group’s volunteer support supplied Forest Preserve District of Cook Kristina Anderson and Peter everything they promised, and County, Spring Creek Stewards; Wessel with the Riding Club of more! Tables were set up, drivers The Riding Club of Barrington Hills, Barrington Hills supplied lunch, were directed to parking, water was Audubon-Chicago Region; Citizens snacks and much-needed water. boiled, people were greeted as they for Conservation, Fox River Valley Kristina and Peter, you are arrived. Tad brought his sons to Pony Club, The League of Women wonderful. The event will remain help—two extra-hard workers. Tom Voters Palatine Area. clear in my memory thanks to an delivered the good weather that he A reminder: Public Lands Day extremely reliable photographer, promised. Greg left his new son to is Sept 29. We will once again be Jim Haba, who came back home join us for the workday. All of your working in Spring Creek. Come from out of state for this event! efforts made this day perfect. out and join us. If you’d like to help Jim is a professional photographer Thank you to Steve Packard for with the planning, please call me at who covers corporate events. His the education and also many thanks 847.967.7835. company, 20/20 Communications, is to the Forest Preserve employees, in Elk Grove Village, 847.364.7666. who have always supported our —Donna Hriljac Master Steward Dave Cook, left, gives instructions on buckthorn removal. Right, the demise of the buckthorn. All photos courtesy of Jim Haba
  3. 3. Spring Valley Events Group Calendar July and August Sunday, July 8. 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Summer Break Mowing & Mooing at the Heritage Farm Enjoy the the Summer! We’ll be harvesting the mid-summer hay crop with draft horses and milking the dairy cow. Back at the farmhouse, process fresh cow’s milk into August 25th cheese and ice cream. There will also be refreshments, games, and crafts. Sierra Club NWCCG Picnic $1.50 per person. Take a hayride from the Nature Center to the Farm. Watch for info. Friday, July 13. 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. September 13th Nature’s Night Life Program Meeting An educational walk around Spring Valley for adults. Pre-registration Topic yet to be announced. required, so please call in advance. September 29th Friday, July 27. 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Public Lands Day Lights in the Night Spring Creek Preserve A firefly program for youngsters. Pre-registration required so call in advance. We will be hauling away trash and doing our regular ecological restoration work. Saturday, Sept. 22. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. We will have a variety of area and eco co- National Public Lands Day sponsors. Come out and join us. It is a great A morning of native seed collecting. All of the seed is dried, cleaned, and day outside, for a great cause, with some used to replant additional acres of native wildflowers and grasses in Schaum- great people! If you’d like to help with the burg’s parks and nature preserves. Learn ways to heal the land and help planning, please call Donna at 847.967.7835. restore rare plants and animals. All participants will receive a free packet of native wildflower seed. Free and open to all ages, but please call the Nature Program meetings are held on the Center at 847.985.2100 to RSVP. second Thursday of the month, September through June, at the Spring Valley Nature Sunday, October 7. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sanctuary at 1111 East Schaumburg Road Autumn Harvest Festival in Schaumburg. Meetings start at 7:00 Demonstrations of 19th century farm life at the Volkening Heritage p.m. and the program, focusing on natural Farm. Activities include cider pressing, woodstove cooking, blacksmithing, history or environmental issues, starts and horse-powered threshing, primitive fire starting, campfire cooking, at 7:30 p.m. Meetings are free and open musket firing, and more. Children’s activities, live music, hayrides, and sales to the public. For more info, contact Greg of refreshments will be available. $3 per person. Call 847.985.2100. Stolzer at or (847)368-0483. Spring Valley is located at 1111 E. Schaumburg Road, just west of Meacham Also, see the Outings section of Lake & Road. Call (847) 985-2100 for reservations or more information. Prairie for more information on events. Envirovet: Treating Wild Animals at Davis, Tom Lovejoy of the Heinz between wildlife and domestic animals, CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15 Center for Science Economics and but also between wildlife and human gopher tortoises and sea turtles. The the Environment, Jeff Zuba of the populations. Students also undertake aquatic session at Harbor Branch San Diego Zoo, Daniel Martineau of hands-on work in wildlife health features research submarines, estuarine the University of Montreal, and Greg assessment, and preventive medicine and reef assessments, ecological Bossart of Harbor Branch. related to the interface of national parks toxicology and ecosystem health for The second session teaches and private lands. fish, and marine birds and mammals. students to work across national Val Beasley’s vision is growing The students are trained through boundaries. Each year the location daily. Past students return to the postmortem examinations of frozen varies, but during the last few years field with new insights, and use their sections of multiple species of birds and it has been organized in South Africa new knowledge and skills to make a marine mammals from spontaneous or Swaziland. Students explore difference for wildlife populations. major lethal events in the field. Faculty opportunities to see what types of —Suzie Crombie is a freelance film of the terrestrial and aquatic units hail problems these countries deal with and editor and videographer. She is currently from across the U.S. and Canada, and the many ways in which veterinarians working on a film for Envirovet. For include such experts as Scott Citino of are needed. These include preventing more information, see: www.cvm.uiuc. White Oak, Kirsten Gilardi and Jonna diseases and gene-jumping not only edu/envirovet/index.html. Mazet of the University of California
  4. 4. Home Health Havens scented personal products can be big CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15 the leaf offenders. There are approximately chemicals in their environments; these 5,000 chemicals registered for use in allergy-like reactions seem to relate to Summer 2007 personal products that can negatively exposure to a wide variety of synthetic impact the immune system of a child. and natural substances, including Disclaimer: Published quarterly, the leaf The National Institute of Environmental paints, carpeting, plastics, perfumes, is the official newsletter of the North- Health Sciences has explored the link cigarette smoke, and plants. In my own west Cook County Group of the Sierra between children, the environment home, I keep pollen and spore counts Club. Opinions expressed in articles are and neurotoxicity. According to the solely those of the author and do not down with an air filtration system based American Academy of Pediatrics necessarily reflect those of the Sierra on creation of negative ions. The five Committee on Environmental Health, Club. the leaf may be redistributed as filter system ensures air quality. I also the toxins that invade our homes and long as the content remains unaltered keep my air conditioning system set on and full credit is given both to the au- accumulate in the immune systems recirculate to reduce pollen and mold. thor and to the Northwest Cook Group. of children contribute to learning Today’s homebuilders strive to Copyrights for the print and electronic disabilities, hyperactivity, and Attention build homes that meet the demands content belong to the Sierra Club and Deficit Disorder. and needs of health-conscious home the Northwest Cook County Group. As a homeowner, parent, or buyers, as today’s consumers are well- grandparent you can be involved in EDITORS educated about indoor air quality, making healthier decisions for your Laura Franzen radon, and environmentally correct family. Health-conscious homeowners building materials. are now buying cutting boards and Robin Limp Banning toxins is another countertops treated with bacteriocides. approach. Some They have also health-conscious LAYOUT AND DESIGN “There are approximately found that silver homeowners are Paras Bhayani and copper are rejecting the use 5,000 chemicals registered naturally sanitizing. of natural gases, For information on COPY EDITOR for use in personal which according ‘green’ environments Helene O’Neill to some studies to incorporate into products that can is believed to CHAIR your home, visit www. aggravate chemical Donna Hriljac negatively impact the or www. sensitivity. They immune system of a child.” are ripping out On the cutting CONSER VATION CHAIR carpets, which can edge of wellness Vacant trap toxic fumes. The good news is technology are materials that radiate that carpets, paints, wood treatments, far-infrared rays, a part of the sun’s ENERGY CHAIR (STATE) drapes and bedding are increasingly invisible spectrum that can penetrate Tom Borchard, 847.390.8386 available in nontoxic versions, devoid of deep into human tissues. Such substances linked to carcinogens. materials have been widely used in “Healthy Homes” is a century-old FUNDRAISING CHAIR Japan for years and are gaining respect concept that promotes safe, decent, Vacant here as germ-zappers and remedies and sanitary housing. Healthy housing for ailments such as arthritis and MEMBERSHIP CHAIR is receiving considerable attention fibromyalgia. These materials are Greg Stolzer, 847.368.0483 from public health professionals and available in comforters manufactured policymakers as a result of emerging by Nikken, a Japanese wellness scientific evidence linking health OUTINGS CHAIR company. outcomes, such as asthma and lead Scott Etienne A healthy home can and should be a poisoning to substandard housing. healing home. Good health begins and Such unhealthy substandard housing ends with you! POLITICAL CHAIR can be seen across economic lines! Barbara Hill, 847.991.3204 Even expensive new homes may have —Sharon Weinstein is a registered nurse, biohazards lurking within. So, what is a health educator, author and wellness and homeowner to do? environmental specialist. Visit her online VISIT US ON THE WEB: First, assess how unhealthy your at: She can be home might be. Examine cleaning- reached at supply labels and pesticides. Even