Highly Fluorinated Compounds – Social and Scientific Discovery

This two-day conference in Boston will address the social, scientific, political, economic, and environmental health issues raised by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). It will examine both ubiquitous exposure in consumer products and discrete historic and recent contamination discoveries in drinking water and soil around the world.

This conference will bring together scientists, government agency professionals, community-based organization leaders, national and regional environmental advocates, retail and industry representatives, journalists, and lawyers. In addition to plenary speakers and panels, there will be time for smaller discussions (e.g., community activism, waste management, journalism).

Dr. Linda Birnbaum, Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, will be the keynote speaker. Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, will also be a speaker.

We hope to provide some financial support for community advocates to attend. If you are interested in applying for support, please email Stephanie at s.knutson@northeastern.edu with a little information about yourself and why you’d like to attend.

The conference is sponsored by the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute (Northeastern University-Boston, MA), Humanities Center (Northeastern University-Boston, MA), Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT) Superfund Research Program (Northeastern University-Boston, MA), Silent Spring Institute (Newton, MA), Testing for Pease (Portsmouth, NH), and Toxics Action Center (Boston, MA).

Conference Agenda

Day 1 June 14, 2017

8:00-8:15         Breakfast and registration

8:15-9:00     Introduction to the conference and overview of PFASs and the challenges of communities with affected drinking water (as breakfast continues)

Phil Brown (Northeastern University)

Laurel Schaider (Silent Spring Institute)

Sylvia Broude (Toxics Action Center)

9:00-9:45         Keynote Address

Linda Birnbaum (Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)

Introduction by Michelle Dalton (Testing for Pease)

9:45-10:30       Social and scientific discovery – The legal angle

Rob Bilott (Taft Law; counsel on DuPont litigation)

10:30-10:45     Break

10:45-11:25     Social and scientific discovery – The national organization level

Ken Cook (Environmental Working Group)

11:25-12:45   State of the science on PFASs

– Chaired by Courtney Carignan (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)

Courtney Carignan (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)

Richard Clapp (University of Massachusetts-Lowell)

Alan Ducatman (West Virginia University)

12:45-1:45       Lunch – this will include a separate room for community groups to discuss strategic planning 

1:45-3:15         Community organizing (Military and airport sites)

                         – Chaired by Sylvia Broude (Toxics Action Center)

Andrea Amico (Testing for Pease – Portsmouth, NH)

Cindi Ashbeck (Veterans and Civilians Clean Water Alliance)

Aaron Weed (Township Board, Oscoda, MI)

Hope Grosse and Joanne Stanton (Warminster, PA)

Susan Gordon (Colorado Springs, CO)

3:15-3:30         Break

 3:30-5:00         Source identification and drinking water treatment

                         – Chaired by Laurel Schaider (Silent Spring Institute)

Mark Ells (Town of Barnstable, MA)

Elsie Sunderland (Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences)

Brandon Kernen (New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services)

Andrew Lindstrom (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

Jason Galloway (Ohio State University)

5:00-6:00         Social and scientific discovery: Building a broad coalition around chemical classes

                         – Chaired by Alayna Davis (Testing for Pease)

Alissa Cordner (Whitman College)

Lauren Richter (Northeastern University)

Tony Fletcher (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)

6:00-8:00         Informal networking dinner                


Day 2 June 15, 2017

8:00-8:45         Breakfast 

8:45-10:15       Scientists working with communities

                        – Chaired by Richard Clapp (University of Massachusetts-Lowell)

Frank Bove (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry)

Courtney Carignan (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)

Edward Emmett (University of Pennsylvania)

Laurel Schaider (Silent Spring Institute)

10:15-10:30     Break 

10:30-12:00     Role of local, state, and federal agencies

                         – Chaired by Alissa Cordner (Whitman College)

Fardin Oliaei (DST Health Solutions; formerly Minnesota Pollution Control Agency)

Christina Bush (Michigan Department of Health and Human Services)

Sue Manente (Michigan Department of Health and Human Services)

Alyssa Schuren (The Management Center; formerly Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation)

12:00-1:00       Lunch 

1:00-2:30         Community organizing (Industrial sites)

                         – Chaired by Shaina Kasper (Toxics Action Center)

Joe Kiger (Keep Your Promises DuPont)

Silvia Potter (Hoosick Falls, NY)

Tracy Carluccio (Delaware Riverkeeper)

Laurene Allen (Citizens for Clean Water in Merrimack, NH)

2:30-3:30         Local and investigative media coverage

                        – Chaired by Michelle Dalton (Testing for Pease)

Mariah Blake (author of Welcome to Parkersburg)

Emily Corwin (New Hampshire Public Radio)

Sharon Lerner (The Intercept)

3:30-3:45         Break

3:45-5:00         Small Group Workshops

1) Is a Health Study Right for My Community?

Dick Clapp (University of Massachusetts-Lowell)

Greg Howard (Environmental Health Consultant)

2) Legal Considerations for Impacted Communities

Gary Davis (Davis and Whitlock Environmental Law)

Ken Rumelt (Vermont Law School’s Environment and Natural Resources Law Clinic)

Kevin Hannon (The Hannon Law Firm)

3) How to Build Positive Relationships with Legislators

Rep. Mindi Messmer (New Hampshire State Representative District 24)

Senator Brian Campion (Vermont General Assembly – Bennington County)

4) Beyond Water: Retailer and Manufacturer Action on PFASs in Consumer Products

Laurel Schaider (Silent Spring Institute)

Arlene Blum (Green Science Policy Institute)

5) Effective Strategies for Engaging with Media

Jenny Wagner (Bucks County Courier Times)

6) How Health Professionals Can Help Affected Communities

Alan Ducatman (West Virginia University)

7) Scientist Discussion of Coordinated Health Studies for Exposed Communities

Courtney Carignan (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)

5:00-5:30         Closing comments and future directions

Alissa Cordner (Whitman College)

Andrea Amico (Testing for Pease)

Shaina Kasper (Toxics Action Center)

Arlene Blum (Green Science Policy Institute)