Happy 2013

Dear friends,

In December, my daughter and I enjoyed a week of skiing by Lake Louise in Canada, where our attached holiday photo was taken. While the weather was really cold and the days short, there were beautiful mountain views and great snow.

My daughter finished a year working as a research assistant at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in June. She traveled in Israel and then with her father in France. After driving her car from Berkeley to North Carolina, she began graduate school at UNC – Chapel Hill studying Environmental Sciences and Engineering with a research focus on water and sanitation in developing countries.

I was honored to be elected to the Hall of Mountaineering Excellence, selected by Dove for a short inspirational video, and continue to lead the work of the Green Science Policy Institute to reduce toxics to protect our health and environment. with
recent successes as below:
• The Business & Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) adopted a position statement on the “Elimination of Fire Retardant Chemicals in Office Furniture” after our workshop. This means healthier workplaces for all.
• The new California furniture standard TB117-2012 supported by Governor Brown will protect health with fire-safe and healthy furniture and baby products.
• Our research paper on flame retardants in baby products, which contributed to the above, was named the number one paper of 2011 by Environmental Science & Technology.
• An international flammability standard for electronics, which would have required flame retardants in the cases around all the TVs in the world, was stopped.
• Extensive press coverage including a six page article in the New York Times magazine which asked “Is your couch the most dangerous thing in your house?” and the Chicago Tribune’s expose about flame retardants and the chemical industry.
Our growing staff of outstanding scientists and I have moved into our new downtown Berkeley office on Shattuck and Rose. Please come visit.

The Himalayan Fair will continue to bring the food, music, crafts and dances of the Himalayas to Live Oak Park in Berkeley May 18 and 19, 2013. Hope to see you there for our 30th anniversary.

I wish you a peaceful, happy, and healthy 2013.


PS Here is some of my favorite media about our work this year
Read: New York Times Magazine How Dangerous is Your Couch?
Chicago Tribune front-page investigative series, Playing with Fire
Scientific American blog Worse Than Bedbugs, It’s the Couch Itself
Nicholas Kristof’s New York Times column Are You Safe on that Sofa?
Watch: How Dust Bunnies Can Make You Sick cartoon
Burned: Are chemicals intended to keep us safe in a fire making us sick?
Listen: Michael Krasny interview on Forum on NPR

Arlene Blum, PhD
Research Associate in Chemistry, UC Berkeley
Executive Director, Green Science Policy Institute
Office Telephone: 510 898 1704 or 510 898 1739 Mobile: 510 919-6363
Web: www.GreenSciencePolicy.org, www.arleneblum.com