MILLER, IPEN Co-chair and Co-chair of the IPEN Women’s Caucus, discusses how citizen science plays a huge role in women’s health and health policies. Pamela shared the results of a small study by Commonweal and IPEN participating organizations that investigated levels of certain persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in women’s breast milk. The study found that samples from Alaska had the highest overall pesticide concentrations, including the highest concentrations of chlordane and dieldrin, two pesticides globally banned for their extremely harmful effects on the environment, animals, and human bodies. It is especially alarming that these are present in breast milk, because babies are, in effect, drinking poison rather than being nourished by their first food.
Pamela stressed that gender equality is a fundamental human right, and all of us must work to protect women’s health because women cannot be empowered, nor gender equality achieved if exposures to harmful chemicals cause women to suffer from chronic illnesses, cancers, infertility, or damage to their nervous systems.