EDFrom the Executive Director

Dear Friends in Prevention,


In recent months, the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition has honored our mission of prevention with the celebration of the 20th anniversary of our sister organization, Silent Spring Institute, our attendance and acceptance of the Massachusetts General Hospital's one hundred honor, as well as the 22nd annual Against the Tide event in Hopkinton. In addition, I had the pleasure of speaking at the "Towards a Cancer Free Economy" forum held on Cape Cod.


This summer has also been a reflection that our work is not yet done. The Massachusetts FY 2015 budget outcome in the House of Representatives and State Senate was disappointing for both the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition and Silent Spring Institute. Yet we will persevere in our determination to seek funding for breast cancer prevention and environmental research -- funding that is presently sorely lacking. As long as environmental injustices continue to invade our communities, our bodies, and the well-being of our ecosystem, we will continue to advocate for prevention through community education, research advocacy, and changes to public policy. 


Let's Talk Prevention is our educational program to increase discussions about environmental exposures between health professionals and patients through the distribution and use of a booklet for health professionals and a brochure for patients. We invite you to review these materials and share them with your friends, family, and colleagues.


Thank you to all our Hopkinton Against the Tide participants, donors, volunteers, and sponsors. Your donations that support an inspiring participant or team of your choice are still being accepted online, plus corporate matching of donations is a great way to help support MBCC.


We hope that you will join us as a participant, donor, volunteer, spectator, or sponsor at our 15th annual swim, kayak, walk, or run Against the Tide fundraiser on August 16th in Brewster, MA. Your support, and that of our sponsors, has allowed the us to hold these inspirational and educational statewide events for the past twenty-two years.

 Online registration and pledging is open, and to help you get started, our website provides Against the Tide fundraising tips and tools.



Thank you for your continued support, and best wishes for a enjoyable summer. 



Cheryl Osimo signature
Cheryl Osimo
Executive Director
Executive Director Cheryl Osimo and Board of Directors President Margo Simon Golden
In February of this year, the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) was selected as an honoree of the one hundred for 2014. On June 10, MBCC joined the 99 other nominees to attend an annual gala dinner to receive this prestigious award and recognition. 


Created and hosted by the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, the one hundred annually celebrates 100 individuals and organizations who are making a difference in the fight against cancer. This year, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center received nearly 1,000 nominations from around the world. Final selections were made by Massachusetts General Hospital faculty, staff, and supporters.


"The Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition is humbled to be recognized among the other impressive 99 honorees for our unique focus on breast cancer prevention. MBCC was founded by women who were concerned about the lack of attention being paid to breast cancer prevention. We advocated for the commonwealth to declare breast cancer an epidemic, and we're proud to say that we succeeded in this endeavor. We will continue to strive towards eradicating breast cancer for future generations, and we will succeed only through continued public support. It is an honor to accept this award on behalf of MBCC," says Cheryl Osimo, MBCC Executive Director.


Learn more about the one hundred honor and MBCC's nomination

Moving Toward a Cancer Free Economy ForumCancerFreeEconomy


What would it take to wean our economy off its dependency on carcinogenic chemicals? At the "Towards a Cancer Free Economy" forum on June 23, leading advocacy groups including MBCC debated this question. MBCC Executive Director Cheryl Osimo was asked to speak alongside Dr. Richard Clapp, Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, along with Chuck Collins, a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies. 


The community forum discussed strategies for building a cancer-free economy on a local level. The forum featured health activists from GreenCAPE and Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition as well as experts from the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production (University of Massachusetts Lowell) which incorporates toxics use reduction into Massachusetts businesses to promote sustainability for workers, residents, and the businesses themselves. 


The forum provided information on the most recent scientific research on the role of chemical carcinogens in the onset of cancer, economic transition strategies and outcomes from the "Cancer-Free Jamaica Plain Economy" experience, and a facilitated community discussion to identify needs and opportunities in Falmouth and other towns on Cape Cod to shift economic activity away from carcinogens and towards safer alternatives and practices. 

Panelists at the Event: (L to R) David Dow (Sierra Club), Sue Phelan (GreenCape), Carlos Espinza-Toro (Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition), Rev. Murphy (Chair of the Cape Cod and Islands Sierra Club), Cheryl Osimo (Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition and Silent Spring Institute), Dr. Richard Clapp (Lowell Center for Sustainable Production), Claire B.W. Miller (Toxic Action Center). 


Read more about the forum, their discussions, and watch a video of the entire event. 
Research Updates Video Series
We are pleased to release the latest video in this series featuring Silent Spring Institute Research Scientist Robin Dodson, ScD.  The latest video describes Silent Spring Institute's history of research on chemical flame retardants in house dust of homes on Cape Cod and in California. These studies have been the first recorded measurements of some of these chemicals in homes. The video also includes tips to avoid exposure to these persistent chemicals.

Is Your House Dust Toxic? Flame Retardant Chemicals in Your Home

Become an advocate for prevention and take steps to reduce your exposure by clicking the image above to watch and share the video!

Click here to watch other videos in the series.
Flame Retardant Update: Kaiser pledges to only purchase flame retardant free furnitureKaiser


In our March/April eNewsletter, we reported on TB117-2013, the revised flammability standard passed in California in January 2014 that has become de-facto standard for much of the United States. The new standard is an important step towards reducing exposures to flame retardant chemicals, which are often found in high levels in our homes and bodies and have been linked to many health problems including cancer, infertility, and birth defects. 


The revised TB 117-2013 is a performance-based flammability standard that allows furniture to be made without using these toxic chemicals. Since the passing of TB117-2013, Kaiser Permanente, an integrated managed healthcare consortium, heralded a large shift in their purchasing to support its hospital facilities. As of June 2014, they have pledged to purchase only furniture free of added flame retardant chemicals and that meets the requirements of TB117-2013. Kaiser Permanente is the first health system to commit to removing chemicals from hospital furniture citing concerns over exposure to potential toxics. This decision could also herald a shift for other industries and sectors of business to change their purchasing habits.  


Click here to read more including the full TB 117-2013 Technical Bulletin and learn more about what these flammability standards mean for Massachusetts. 

Pollution Becomes Personal: NSTAR Spraying Update NSTAR
Over the course of  one month last year NSTAR sprayed over 2,000 gallons of pesticide mixtures on 800 acres of Cape Cod. Many more thousands of gallons will be sprayed unnecessarily in the coming weeks according to NSTAR's 2014 Yearly Operational Plan as approved by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR). In instances like this, it's clear how corporate decisions in distant board rooms shape our local patterns of health and disease, and pollution quickly becomes personal.


Government at every level has failed Cape Codders as well as other residents throughout Massachusetts.  Residents are on their own to protect their health from NSTAR (the public electric utility) and other rights-of-way (ROW) pesticide users such as National Grid, the railroads, and MBTA.  


NSTAR's insistence on chemical treatment on private and municipal property above Cape Cod's EPA-designated sole-source aquifer is arrogant and immoral, but clearly they are not alone in their misguided efforts to control vegetation regardless of the price to others. Our children should be allowed to develop to their highest intellectual potential and deserve every protection against "chemical brain drain" and breast and other cancers. No one should have to accept harmful pesticide spraying on their own or neighboring property or municipal lands just because it suits a corporation's bottom line. Given that safer alternative vegetation control has been demonstrated to be successful, we must work together to prevent these unnecessary and questionable hazardous exposures. No poison, no excuses. 


Click here for the full NSTAR update, including what to do if NSTAR sprays in your neighborhood.

Submitted by Sue Phelan (info@GreenCAPE.org 
or 508.362.5927)

In this Issue



Tips to Reduce Your ExposureTips

Open windows every so often to ventilate indoor air. Don't allow smoking inside, and avoid using commercial air fresheners, which can contain unsafe fragrance chemicals.
Toxic chemicals such as flame retardants (see below) can settle in dust, so keep dust levels low by using a vacuum with a HEPA filter and cleaning with a microfiber cloth. These naturally trap dust and dirt without chemical additives.

Tip provided by: Let's Talk Prevention: Reducing Toxic Exposures, an educational program to increase discussions about environmental exposures between health professionals and patients. 

Environmental Health News


New Study: BPA May Make Breast Cancer Cells Resistant to Treatment



American Council of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) survey finds that Doctors are Failing to Discuss Toxic Chemicals and Prenatal Risk



NY Times: Flame Retardant Chemicals are More Pervasive Than Once Thought



Upcoming EventsEvents


Join the Conversation


Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

View our videos on YouTube

Find us on Pinterest

Visit our blog

About MBCC

The Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) is dedicated to preventing environmental causes of breast cancer through community education, research advocacy, and changes to public policy. MBCC is the only education and advocacy non-profit in the country working closely with an environmental research organization toward breast cancer prevention. Thank you for supporting our efforts toward breast cancer prevention. Learn more.

Donate Now


333 Weymouth Street#13 Rockland, MA 02370 

Click here to read past eNewsletters