March 2011 Newsletter

Dear friends,

My daughter Annalise and I will meet in Nepal next week for a short trek and are planning a ski weekend at the Sierra Club’s historic Claire Tappaan Lodge in April. If you are in the area, please consider joining us and also at the 28th annual Himalayan Fair May 14-15 in Berkeley.

California Senate Bill 147, sponsored by State Senator Mark Leno, would provide an alternative to the current flammability standard giving consumers across North America the choice to choose to buy furniture and baby products without harmful and ineffective flame retardants. After fours years of supporting similar legislation to protect our health from these chemicals, this year we are cautiously optimistic. Get in touch if you might want to help stop unneeded flame retardants in our products and our bodies. For more about SB147, you can view the press conference announcing it: Senator Leno Introduces Consumer Choice Fire Safety Act

I am most honored to have been selected as one of the 100 most inspirational women in the world by the UK Guardian and to have been elected to the Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Kind regards,

1. Join Us for A Ski Weekend April 22 to 24, 2011
2. My Tedx Talk and the Plastic Pollution Coalition
3. Included in a List of World’s 100 Most Inspirational Women
4. Would you like Green Science Policy Institute Science and Policy Updates?
5. Egypt and Jordan
6. Himalayan Wild (and Flame Retardant) Fibers
7. An Autographed Copy of “Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life”
8. Averting Another Toxics Disaster In China
9. Please Join us on Facebook
10. Annalise’s Adventure Blog
11. Berkeley Himalayan Fair May 14-15 at Live Oak Park in Berkeley

You are invited to join Annalise and me for a ski weekend April 22 to 24. We will be staying at the Sierra Club’s Clair Tappaan Lodge at Norden with sledding and skiing in the “back yard.” There should be cross country skiing at Royal Gorge and downhill at Sugar Bowl as well.

Clair Tappaan, a historic lodge, is located i near Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada of California. This charmingly rustic structure has a cheerful dining room, large living room with rock fireplace, cozy library, and a hot tub. Guests bring their own sleeping bags. A professional chef creates hearty breakfasts and dinners.. Guests prepare their own brown bag lunches. The cost is $60 per night including three meals. The Lodge is fun at times other than the ski season. Fall is spectacular for hiking and biking.
You can book by calling 530-426-3632 or 800-679-6775 or on line at:
Please let us know if you are coming.

For a quick introduction to the flame retardant problem, check out my TEDx talk from the inspiring Plastic Pollution Coalition TEDx at

Here’s their pledge:
Disposable plastics are the greatest source of plastic pollution. Designed to be discarded, straws, plastic bottles, plastic utensils, lids, plastic bottles and so many others offer a small convenience but remain forever. REFUSE disposable plastics! Follow the “4 Rs” of sustainable living:
Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
More at

And to learn about our plastic food chain -or- The Turtle Who Pooped Plastic
Here’s a disturbing new report chronicling the effects of decades of plastic pollution on sea turtles and what we can do about it:
Marine Turtle Newsletter: Editorial: Plastic Pollution: An Ocean Emergency (PDF)
Image Library: Plastics and Sea Turtles

We send out updates like those excerpted below a few times a month. If you are not yet receiving them, and might like to be on the e-list, e-mail me or with your contact information.


Our Flame Retardant Dilemma Symposium at UC Berkeley on February 11 was a great success with more than a hundred participants from industry, government, academia and NGOs.
Speakers’ slides are at
For a CD with audio recordings of the talks, please email me or

Walmart bans products containing all PBDEs and urges suppliers to investigate the use of halogenated alternatives.


Here’s a Washington Post article about the flame retardant HBCD which is used with all polystyrene insulation, making buildings energy efficient and potentially toxic.

This flame retardant has been found in human breast milk, body fat and blood. In the United States, (nearly) everyone has it in their tissues. In Europe, where HBCD is more widely used, the exposure levels are higher.

I am astonished that he UK Guardian included me in a list of 100 of the world’s most inspirational women for the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.
Scroll to sport and adventure:

From Leah Garchik’s column in the San Francisco chronicle

From Rock and Ice

I was also honored to be elected to the Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in the Societal Impacts of Science & Engineering.

I wish I could inspire Chemtura, Albermarle, and ICL to stop polluting the planet and to inspire more support for the Green Science Policy Institute’s work of protecting our health and environment from toxics

If you are inspired to do so, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to Green Science Policy Institute’s work of reducing toxics to protect health. We get a lot done with a little funding. With you support, we can be even more effective. Please make your check payable to SEE/GSP.
Mail to: Green Science Policy Institute, P.O. Box 5455, Berkeley, CA 94705
or on line at

After our enjoyable holiday in Egypt, which included staying in the Shepheard Hotel adjacent to Tahrir Square, Annalise and I so hope this wonderful country can find a peaceful transition to democracy with prosperity. We enjoyed the pyramids, temples, and tombs, a Nile cruise, hike up Mt Sinai, Red Sea snorkeling, and a great camel trip in Egypt. In Jordan, we explored Petra and scrambled up the highest peak in Jordan in the Wadi Rum desert. We can suggest a great trip outfitter for the Sinai, which was a favorite part.
Annalise’s photos are at:

Himalayan Wild Fibers LLC (HWF) in Nepal makes a naturally flame retardant fiber from the Himalayan stinging nettle plant. As a triple bottom line company, it produces a sustainable product and positive environmental impact while also creating income for impoverished Nepalese.
You can learn more and about how to get involved with this worthy venture at HWF Executive Summary or from

For your own reading or a gift, consider a copy the hardback or revised paperback edition of “Breaking Trail”. They are $27.50 and $14 respectively with a personal autograph.

“Annapurna a Woman’s Place”, is happily back in print. The famous “A Woman’s Place is on Top…Annapurna” t-shirt, Annapurna videos, and Himalayan language courses (Nepalese, Hindi, and Tibetan) are also available at

“Averting Another Toxics Disaster in China”, detailing the flame retardant industry’s growth in China and the potentially disastrous consequences for global health and environment, was posted on-line in the new volume of the China Environment Series, from the Woodrow Wilson Center.
Write us for a pdf or the volume can be accessed here.
We are beginning to plan a small meeting around the topic of toxics in China for June in Washington D.C.

We are slowly starting on Facebook, but please do go to one or more of our sites and become a friend

Green Science Policy
Arlene Blum (for friends I know)
Arlene Blum public figure (for friends I haven’t met yet)

Annalise is currently working on the Thai-Burma border with the Border Green Energy Team ( through a Stanford MAP fellowship. She writes about her adventures at with photos at

11. 28th ANNUAL HIMALAYAN FAIR May 14-15, 2011
The Himalayan Fair is continuing to bring the food, music, crafts and dances of the Himalayas to Berkeley. The fair’s profits go directly to the Himalayan regions as donations to orphanages, medical clinics, schools, village water supplies and agricultural and child nutrition projects and other Himalayan charities. I describe starting the Himalayan Fair after returning from the ten month long Great Himalayan Traverse in Chapter 23 of my memoir “Breaking Trail.”

For more information about the next fair, visit the Himalayan Fair website at or contact Chandran Param at or 510-869-3995


Please consider contributing to our work or protecting our health and environment from toxic chemicals by making a donation at:

Thank you!

Please contact us at if you would like your name to be taken off this e-mail list or would like more information about the Green Science Policy Institute or Arlene Blum’s leadership and sustainability lectures or workshops

Arlene Blum PhD
Visiting Scholar, Chemistry
University of California, Berkeley
Executive Director, Green Science Policy Institute
Telephone: 510 644-3164 Mobile: 510 919-6363