Girl Planting seeds

Deirdre Imus Discusses Children's Health @ Pangea Conference: We All Need "Green" Common Sense

NEW YORK, N.Y., November 14, 2008 – "We're trying to move away from fossil fuels and gas guzzlers for many reasons. Less polluting cars can protect children's health as well as the environment," said Deirdre Imus during a panel discussion at Pangea 2008 Conference in New York City, November 14.  But she emphasized, "green" common sense is critical for everyone.

Deirdre Imus is the founder and President of the Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® (, part of Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC) in New Jersey, a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit corporation.

"Green" Points to Prevention

Ms. Imus recounted the alarming trends in children's health: Cancer is still the leading cause of death by disease in children (National Cancer Institute). About 34 percent of children in the U.S. suffer from allergies, and asthma is one of the primary causes of school absenteeism (EPA). Autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) impact one in 150 U.S. children (CDC).   
What's changed over the past 20 to 30 years? Pollutants in our environment, Ms. Imus said.  The World Health Organization estimates that 80 percent of diseases and chronic illnesses, including cancer and asthma, may be triggered by environmental factors.  So "green" common sense means reducing exposures everywhere possible, whether they come from things we build, things we bring into our homes, or the waste streams we create.                                                 

The two-day Pangea 2008 Conference is a multi-track integrative medicine program for those who care for children in therapeutic settings, as well as resident, students and others in health care training programs.

Greening Common Sense
Changes come more easily with a "green" mindset, Ms. Imus said.  The Greening the Cleaning® program is one important step because of its impact on indoor air and water -- and the Environmental Center makes switching to environmentally responsible cleaners easy. Other suggestions include: natural-based personal care products, a more organic diet to avoid pesticides and hormones in food and milk, understanding how to vaccinate children more safely (see the Center's "Greening Vaccines" program, and "Building Green" for sustainability and less pollution indoors and out.
Greening the Cleaning® means eliminating to the greatest extent possible, all cleaning agents containing hazardous ingredients and replacing them with naturally-derived ingredients with the least level of toxicity.  One hundred percent of all profits from the institutional products go to the Environmental Health Center for supporting education and research to identify, control and ultimately prevent toxic exposures in the environment that threaten our children's health. The program was first launched in 2001 by the Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® in collaboration with Hackensack University Medical Center, a national leader in Green Building practices. 

"Within a month, we took away the toxic cleaning products and replaced them with the Greening the Cleaning program. It could not have happened without HUMC's president John Ferguson pushing at the top," she said.  The switch led to a 15 percent annual savings in the cost of cleaning products, fewer days missed by the maintenance staff, and the virtual elimination of complaints and injuries related to toxic cleaning products.
Hundreds of healthcare facilities, government authorities, businesses and schools have implemented the award-winning Greening the Cleaning program since 2001, with direct savings in cleaning costs ranging from budget neutral to 75 percent. 
Inspired by our award-winning program, the Greening the Cleaning household line is available in stores nationwide, as well as from Imus Ranch Foods.  One hundred percent of all profits from the retail line go to the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer, a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit.

Even physicians need a green mindset. Ms. Imus pointed out that few have been educated about the impact of the environment on children's health -- and that creates confusion.  For example, "Parents may ask about organic foods, and they may not know what that is." [Organic means fruits, grains and vegetables grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizers, and milk and animal products produced with no added hormones, antibiotics or synthetic chemicals.) "Now we are a generation who has accumulated all these toxins, and it is up to us to start living green to protect the health of our children and grandchildren."

The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® at Hackensack University Medical Center represents one of the first hospital-based programs whose specific mission is to identify, control and ultimately prevent toxic exposures in the environment that threaten our children's health.  The Center’s mission is twofold: to enhance health by educating our children, their parents and the public-at-large about the carcinogens and other environmental factors that occur all too commonly in our lives…and to serve as a voice that can realistically help shape policy decisions that impact the environment and our well being.
Deirdre Imus is the Founder and President of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center®  at Hackensack University Medical Center and Co-Founder / Co-Director of Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer. Deirdre is the author of two New York Times bestsellers -- the newest book in the Green This! series, Growing Up Green, Baby and Child Care; a practical family guide to raising children in an ever increasing toxic world; and Green This! Volume 1: Greening Your Cleaning, offering a wealth of insights and expertise for protecting families from harmful chemicals. She is also author of Imus Ranch: Cooking for Kids and Cowboys, a national bestseller, and a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post.

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Media contacts:

Bonnie Eskenazi
The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center


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