Happy 2010 Holiday Photo and Letter from Annalise and Arlene

Dear friends,

Happy 2010. Annalise and I are just back from a vacation in Curacao, an Island near Venezuela, where we enjoyed snorkeling, scuba diving, biking, and writing projects. We attended Hanukah services in a temple built in 1731. There was an inch of sand on the floor, recalling how silent the Jews had to be during the Spanish Inquisition.

Annalise, now a senior majoring in environmental engineering at Stanford with a minor in comparative politics, is looking for an engineering job beginning next fall. Hilarious updates from her summer in Ecuador doing research on potable water systems for her senior thesis are on her blog: http://annaliseblum.blogspot.com/ The stories include her learning to live without running water, withstanding conversion to Evangelical Christianity, and being the honored guest at a hand-washing festival, all important skills for an aspiring environmental engineer specializing in water and sewage.

I continue to work with the Green Science Policy Institute to reduce toxic chemicals in consumer products and protect health worldwide. Last year I presented more than 100 lectures including five speaking trips to DC (Congress, EPA, NIST, NOAA, NAS etc), presented papers at meetings in Ottawa and Beijing, and put on two Fire Retardant Dilemma seminars at UC Berkeley and one in Beijing.

Our many projects such as the China Information, Green Building Materials, Firefighter Body Burden, and Midnight Memorial Cat Project are moving forward with the help of our bright interns. We are also providing scientific support for SB772, the California bill to remove toxic fire retardant chemicals from baby products. We received our first foundation funding, from the San Francisco Foundation, to provide information about an impending California flammability standard for bed coverings and pillows. Thanks in part to our efforts, the implementation of this “poison pillow” standard is currently on hold.

With the help of an enthusiastic new committee, the Himalayan Fair is continuing to bring the food, music, crafts and dances of the Himalayas to Berkeley. The 27 annual Himalayan Fair is scheduled for May 29, 30 2010 in Live Oak Park in Berkeley.

This has been a year of awards: the Purpose Prize for those over are 60 who are solving society’s greatest problems, National Women’s History Project “Woman Taking the Lead to Save Our Planet”, “Outstanding Woman of Berkeley”; and representing the Reed College Chemistry Department in a volume of essays celebrating the 100th anniversary of Reed. I have also joined the advisory boards for Environmental Building News, and the Plastic Pollution Coalition. News articles and scientific publications can be found at http://greensciencepolicy.org/press/ and http://greensciencepolicy.org/publications/

Annalise and I wish you all a peaceful, happy, and healthy 2010.

Arlene and Annalise
Arlene@arleneblum.com, annalise@standford.edu