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In the News!

Great Neck Students and GNBCC Travel to Alabama Conference

By Laura Weinberg

This year, the Annual Early Environmental Exposures Conference was hosted in Birmingham, Alabama. Regina Roofeh, from Great Neck North High School and Karolina Woronieck, from Great Neck South High School, received scholarships to attend this two-day conference. Accompanying them to the conference were Laura Weinberg, president of the Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition (GNBCC) and Colette Thaw, GNBCC's secretary and science advisor.

At the Birmingham conference, Regina and Karolina, alumnae of GNBCC's Students and Scientists Breast Cancer/Environmental Research Program, submitted a poster of their summer 2008 internship at the Ana Soto Laboratory of Tufts University Medical School. During the poster presentation, they explained to national researchers and advocates the adverse health effects of Bisphenol A, an "estrogen mimicking" chemical found in baby bottles, plastic drinking bottles, the lining of food cans, infant formula cans and certain dental sealants. According to researchers, our lifetime exposure to estrogen increases our risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Also accompanying GNBCC to Birmingham, were three summer scholarship students sponsored by the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition and their program director, Lisa Kratter, and Karen Miller, president of HBCAC. Modeled by the GNBCC Students and Scientists Scholarship Program, Zach Rotter, Emily Lopes and Shirou Wu interned at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia in summer 2008.

All five high school students from GNBCC and HBCAC received certificates of merit and honorable mention at the conference for their outstanding posters.

The Breast Cancer Environmental Research Centers is a seven year research initiative federally funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Teams of scientists, clinicians and breast cancer advocates from four national centers are studying the impact of prenatal-to-adult environmental exposures that may predispose a woman to breast cancer. The four participating national research centers are located in Princeton, New Jersey; East Lansing, Michigan; Cincinnati, and San Francisco.

In the past four years, members of the Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition have attended the past four Centers' conferences which have taken place in Princeton, East Lansing, San Francisco, and Cincinnati. Alumnae from the GNBCC high school student scholarship program from Great Neck South and North High Schools have attended the Michigan and Cincinnati conferences as well.

As participants at the breast cancer/environmental conference, we heard presentations from two dozen scientists regarding their ongoing research on environmental exposures and the vulnerable period of pre-pubescence. The chemicals, Bisphenol A (recycle #7 plastic), PFOA, found in Teflon products, phthalates (plasticizers) and dioxin were a few of the exposures discussed. The keynote speaker, Dr. Andreas Kortencamp, from the University of London, discussed our increased "estrogen-load" from the combination of "estrogenic chemicals" to which we are exposed from certain pesticides, plastics, household cleaners and cosmetic ingredients.

For more information on the Breast Cancer Environmental Research Centers (BCERC) visit www.bcerc.org. For more information on the Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition's Students/Scientists Scholarship Program and other programs, visit www.greatneckbcc.org.

http://www.antonnews.com/greatneckrecord/2008/12/26/news/alabama.html