The Science and Environmental Health Network


Blog, Updates, and In the News

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SEHN operates as an organization without walls. Thanks to telecommunications, SEHN's small staff works from locations across North America. Carolyn Raffensperger, M.A., J.D. Carolyn is executive director of the Science and Environmental Health Network. In 1982 she left a career as an archaeologist in the desert Southwest to join the environmental movement. She first worked for the Sierra Club where she addressed an array of environmental issues, including forest management, river protection, pesticide pollutants, and disposal of radioactive waste. She began working for SEHN in December 1994. As an environmental lawyer she specializes in the fundamental changes in law and policy necessary for the protection and restoration of public health and the environment.

Carolyn is co-editor of Precautionary Tools for Reshaping Environmental Policy published by M.I.T. Press (2006) and Protecting Public Health and the Environment: Implementing the Precautionary Principle, published by Island Press (1999). Together, these volumes are the most comprehensive exploration to date of the history, theory, and implementation of the precautionary principle. Carolyn coined the term "ecological medicine" to encompass the broad notions that both health and healing are entwined with the natural world. She has served on editorial review boards for several environmental and sustainable agriculture journals, and on USEPA and National Research Council committees. She wrote a bimonthly column for the Environmental Law Institute's journal Environmental Forum from 1999 until 2008.

Carolyn has been featured in Gourmet magazine, the Utne Reader, Yes! Magazine, the Sun, Whole Earth, and Scientific American. Along with leading workshops and giving frequent lectures on the Precautionary Principle, Carolyn is at the forefront of developing new models for government that depend on these larger ideas of precaution and ecological integrity. The new models include guardianship for future generations, a vision for the courts of the 21st century and the public trust doctrine.  Email: carolyn(at)

Ted Schettler, M.D., M.P.H. Ted, SEHN's Science Director, received his MD from Case-Western Reserve University and a masters degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health. He practiced medicine for many years in New England.

Ted has worked extensively with community groups and non-governmental organizations throughout the US and internationally, addressing many aspects of human health and the environment. He has served on advisory committees of the US EPA and National Academy of Sciences.

Ted is co-author of Generations at Risk: Reproductive Health and the Environment, which examines reproductive and developmental health effects of exposure to a variety of environmental toxicants. He is also co-author of In Harm's Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development, which discusses the impact of environmental exposures on neurological development in children, and Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging: With a Closer Look at Alzheimer' and Parkinson's Diseases. Ted has published numerous articles in the medical literature, and is frequently quoted in the popular press.

Among many others, Ted's current projects include serving as science director for theCollaborative on Health and Environment (CHE) and active participation in the Health Care Without Harm coalition, contributing to its international campaign to improve the environmental performance of hospitals and other healthcare institutions. Ted works with colleagues from other organizations and maintains an intensive public speaking schedule, giving frequent talks on environmental health, ecological health, and the precautionary principle.

He lives in Bolinas, CA Email: ted(at)

Nancy Myers, M.A. Nancy is SEHN's Communications Director. She is lead author and editor of SEHN's how-to book on the precautionary principle, Precautionary Tools for Reshaping Environmental Policy (MIT Press 2006). She has been making the precautionary principle a useful tool for activists and policy makers since the 1998 Wingspread Conference. She writes the Network's reports and proposals and co-edits SEHN's electronic , The Networker, with Carolyn Raffensperger.

As a former managing editor of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the "Doomsday Clock" magazine, Nancy developed some of the first international-security writing fellowships for journalists from the former Soviet Union. She was executive director of the Educational Foundation for Nuclear Science from 1993 to 1997 and co-edited, with George Lopez, Peace and Security: The Next Generation (Rowman & Littlefield, 1997). Nancy has a Master of Arts in Teaching from Northwestern University and has taught English to high school students in Japan, Zaire-Congo, and Chicago. She has both witnessed and participated in the growth of international civil society in recent decades. A "downshifter," Nancy works part time so she can commune with trees and watch wildflowers bloom in her patch of woods in southwest Michigan. Email: nancy(at)

Katie Silberman, J.D. Katie joined SEHN as Associate Director in July 2005. Prior to working with SEHN, Katie spent five years with the non-profit Center for Environmental Health in Oakland, CA, where she was Associate Director and Policy Director. During that time, she was a co-founder of the Bay Area Working Group on the Precautionary Principle, which worked collaboratively with San Francisco city government to pass the nation's first precautionary principle ordinance, in 2003.

The first Ralph S. Abascal Fellow at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, Katie has focused on reducing communities’ exposure to environmental harm through policy change, advocacy and activism. She received her BA from Brown University and her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She is a member of the California Bar, and worked previously with such organizations as Breast Cancer Action, Communities for a Better Environment and the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Time magazine, Forbes, the Oakland Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle and other media outlets. She was also featured in two hour-long radio broadcasts covering the precautionary principle on KQED's "Forum", the National Public Radio affiliate in San Francisco.

She lives in Providence, RI, with her husband and two little boys.  Email: katie(at)

Sherri Seidmon, B.S. Sherri joined the SEHN Staff in January 2005 as Finance Director. Sherri has a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Illinois. Her background includes working in banking for many years as well as co-owning a family restaurant. Sherri is working part-time assisting the Associate Director with SEHN’s bookkeeping and budgets, donor database, and development research. She lives in Eugene Oregon with her husband and two teenage sons. Email: sherri(at)

Joseph H. Guth, J.D., Ph.D Joe joined SEHN as Legal Director in March, 2006. He is a member of the New York State Bar, has a law degree from New York University, a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Madison, Wisconsin, and an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. Joe has worked for the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York City, doing both litigation of Clean Water Act citizen's suits and toxic chemicals regulatory policy advocacy; as a litigator in private law firms in New York in the areas of environmental torts, intellectual property and products liability; and as a Vice-president of intellectual property for Chiron Corporation, a biotechnology company in California. Just before joining SEHN, Joe was Executive Director of the California League for Environmental Enforcement Now, a coalition of environmental groups and law firms in Oakland, California, and was Senior Policy Analyst for the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland, California, working on chemicals policy reform.

Joe is currently a member of Cal/EPA's Cumulative Impacts and Precautionary Approaches Workgroup, which is working to implement California's Environmental Justice Action Plan under California's legislative environmental justice initiative. He was a member of Cal/EPA's 2008 Key Element Team on empowering consumers to make chemical decisions, a project of the Caifornia Green Chemistry Initiative; and is also a past member of U.S. EPA's National Pollution Prevention and Toxics Advisory Committee (NPPTAC), which advises EPA on its implementation of U.S. laws governing toxic chemicals.

The central goal of Joe's work is the transformation of the law so that it will promote preservation of the earth rather than accept environmental destruction as a byproduct of economic growth. Key areas that this work draws from include property law, the public trust doctrine, law of the commons, ecological economics and precautionary principle theory.

Joe also works to achieve comprehensive reform of chemicals policy in California and in the United States, which involves intensive study of the REACH legislation in the European Union, the proposed U.S. Kid's Safe Chemicals Act of 2008 and the California Green Chemistry Initiative.

Joe lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two daughters. Email:jguth(at)

Board of Directors, 2010

Martha Dina Arguello, Board Member Emeritus  Executive Director, Health and Environment Programs, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles, CA

Steve Lester, Board Member Emeritus  Science Director, Center for Health, Environment, and Justice, Falls Church, VA

Peter Montague, President Executive Director, Environmental Research Foundation, and Editor, Rachel's Environment and Health News, New Brunswick, N.J.

Frank Peterman, Board Member Emeritus  Southeast Regional Director The Wilderness Society Atlanta, GA

Madeleine Kangsen Scammell  Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Health Boston University School of Public Health

Bhavna Shamasunder, Secretary/Treasurer  Bhavna Shamasunder has worked on environmental health and justice issues in the Bay Area for the past seven years as a scientist, researcher, and advocate. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at the Environmental Science, Policy, and Management Department at the University of California, Berkeley.

Sandra Steingraber Visiting Distinguished Scholar, Ithaca College, Interdisciplinary Studies, Ithaca, N.Y. Author of Living Downstream: A Scientist's Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment, and Having Faith: An Ecologist's Journey to Motherhood.

Benno Friedman Photographer/ Activist, Sheffield, MA.

Rebecca Gasior Altman, PhD Sociologist, Health and the Environment Lecturer, Community Health Program, Tufts University, Medford MA

Elise Miller, MEd Director, Collaborative on Health and the Environment Founder and Former Executive Director, Institute for Children's Environmental Health Freeland, WA

Tom Goldtooth Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network. Bemidji, MN

David Wallinga, Board Member Emeritus  Antibiotic Resistance Project Director, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Minneapolis, MN

Peter deFur, Board Member Emeritus Associate Professor, Center for Environmental Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University, and President, Environmental Stewardship Concepts, Richmond, VA

Roxanne Turnage, Board Member Emeritus Executive Director, C.S. Fund, Freestone, CA

Lois N. Epstein, P.E., Board Member Emeritus Director, Alaska Transportation Priorities Project