Archive for the ‘NIEHS / CUMULATIVE IMPACT PROJECT’ Category

What is autoimmunity and autoimmune diseases?

Spotlight on:
The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA)

What is autoimmunity?

One of the functions of the immune system is to protect the body by responding to invading microorganisms, such as viruses or bacteria, by producing antibodies or sensitized lymphocytes (types of white blood cells).

Under normal conditions, an immune response cannot be triggered against the cells of one’s own body.

In certain cases, however, immune cells make a mistake and attack the very cells that they are meant to protect. This can lead to a variety of autoimmune diseases. They encompass a broad category of related diseases in which the person’s immune system attacks his or her own tissue.

What causes autoimmunity?

The immune system normally can distinguish “self” from “non-self.” Some lymphocytes are capable of reacting against self, resulting in an autoimmune reaction. Ordinarily these lymphocytes are suppressed. Autoimmunity occurs naturally in everyone to some degree; and in most people, it does not result in diseases.

Autoimmune diseases occur when there is some interruption of the usual control process, allowing lymphocytes to avoid suppression, or when there is an alteration in some body tissue so that it is no longer recognized as “self” and is thus attacked. The exact mechanisms causing these changes are not completely understood; but bacteria, viruses, toxins, and some drugs may play a role in triggering an autoimmune process in someone who already has a genetic (inherited) predisposition to develop such a disorder. It is theorized that the inflammation initiated by these agents, toxic or infectious, somehow provokes in the body a “sensitization” (autoimmune reaction) in the involved tissues.

What are the types of autoimmunity?

Particular autoimmune disorders are frequently classified into organ-specific disorders and non-organ-specific types. Autoimmune processes can have various results, for example, slow destruction of a specific type of cells or tissue, stimulation of an organ into excessive growth, or interference in its function. Organs and tissues frequently affected include the endocrine gland, such as thyroid, pancreas, and adrenal glands; components of the blood, such as red blood cells; and the connective tissues, skin, muscles, and joints. Some autoimmune diseases fall between the two types. Patients may experience several organ-specific diseases at the same time. There is, however little overlap between the two ends of the spectrum.
In organ-specific disorders, the autoimmune process is directed mostly against one organ. Examples, with the organ affected, include Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (thyroid gland), pernicious anemia (stomach), Addison’s disease (adrenal glands), and type 1 diabetes (pancreas).

In non-organ-specific disorders, autoimmune activity is widely spread throughout the body. Examples include rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus), and dermatomyositis.

What are some of the treatments for autoimmune diseases?

Of first importance in treating any autoimmune disease is the correction of any major deficiencies. An example would be replacing hormones that are not being produced by the gland, such as thyroxin in autoimmune thyroid disease or insulin in type 1 diabetes. In autoimmune blood disorders, treatment may involve replacing components of the blood by transfusion.
Second in importance is the diminishing of the activity of the immune system. This necessitates a delicate balance, controlling the disorder while maintaining the body’s ability to fight disease in general. The drugs most commonly used are corticosteroid drugs. More severe disorders can be treated with other more powerful immunosuppressant drugs, such as methotrexate, cyclophosphamide, and azathioprine.
All of these drugs, however, can damage rapidly dividing tissues, such as the bone marrow, and so are used with caution. Intravenous immunoglobulin therapy is used in the treatment of various autoimmune diseases to reduce circulating immune complexes. Some mild forms of rheumatic autoimmune diseases are treated by relieving the symptoms with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Drugs that act more specifically on the immune system, for example, by blocking a particular hypersensitivity reaction, are being researched.

What is the family connection in autoimmune diseases?

The ability to develop an autoimmune disease is determined by a dominant genetic trait that is very common (20 percent of the population) that may present in families as different autoimmune diseases within the same family. The genetic predisposition alone does not cause the development of autoimmune diseases. It seems that other factors need to be present as well in order to initiate the disease process. It is important for families with members who have an autoimmune disease to mention this fact when another member of the family is experiencing medical problems that appear to be difficult to diagnose.
How many Americans have an autoimmune disease?

Approximately 50 million Americans, 20 percent of the population or one in five people, suffer from autoimmune diseases. Women are more likely than men to be affected; some estimates say that 75 percent of those affected–some 30 million people–are women. Still, with these statistics, autoimmunity is rarely discussed as a women’s health issue.

What is AARDA?

AARDA (The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association) is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization. AARDA was founded in 1991 to increase awareness about autoimmune diseases. Today it has grown to become the premiere national organizationn on the forefront of autoimmune disease awareness, treatment, research, advocacy and patient information.

What are the goals of AARDA?

The American Autoimmune Releated Diseases Association’s goals are set forth in our Mission Statement:
AARDA is dedicated to the eradication of autoimmune diseases and the alleviation of suffering and the socioeconomic impact of autoimmunity through fostering and facilitating collaboration in the areas of education, public awareness, research, and patient services in an effective, ethical and efficient manner.

How is AARDA funded?

AARDA receives one hundred percent of its annual funding requirements from contributions and donations made by people such as yourself. We are proud that AARDA provides substantial services with very low overhead. At AARDA, over 92% of all contributions are used for research, education and patient services. We are able to accomplish this efficiency because we are staffed primarily with volunteers.
Is AARDA associated with the government?

AARDA is a private nonprofit organization. It is not associated with any State or Federal governmental agency. AARDA does, however, advocate for passage of legislation important to autoimmune research and patients suffering from an autoimmune disease.




Help Raise $3,200.00 for
The Northport Project’s Community Protection & Awareness Program


Our fundraiser goal is to raise money to provide free heavy metal hair element tests to all past and present Northport residents.

The results will provide participants with information to assist them with current or possible future health issues, and will also provide the data needed to obtain more interest from medical research groups to continue epidemiological studies on the many different health clusters diagnosed in the community.

Lastly, it will assist in obtaining the extensive support and funding needed to accomplish the Program’s long-term goals.



A)   Provide FREE annual health screenings, physicals and heavy metal testing to all Northport residents.

B)   Offer a year round Northport Community Wellness Program Designed to aid any interested residents with on-going FREE services to help them create a healthy lifestyle, or help them maintain their current one. This program would offer Northport residents free use of a:

      • Nutritionist;
      • Naturopathic Specialists;
      • Naturopathic Specialists
      • Physical Therapist; and
      • Community Fitness Center with specialty designed fitness
      • programs

C)   Psychologist/Psychiatrist available four days every month for in-person appointments, and available Monday through Friday for phone appointments.


A)   Provide FREE workshops and webinars lead by physicians and toxicologists to provide preventative health information and suggestions regarding the possible health issues and the known diseases and illnesses commonly triggered or caused by chronic exposure to the heavy metal toxins Northport residents have been exposed to for decades. The knowledge provided to residents, such as being able to recognize early symptoms of illnesses, could lead to early detections and diagnosis’ of many diseases and cancers – increasing the chances of survival and/or remission.

B)   Offer monthly conference calls on a variety of topics related to the research and studies done on cumulative health impacts in other communities similar to Northport.


The participation of residents in the above programs will also result in the community coming together with scientists and research groups to study the cumulative health impacts to residents from communities around the world who have also been, or will be, chronically exposed to the same heavy metal toxins.

This research partnership has the potential of saving thousands upon thousands of lives in the future generations throughout the world.


To learn more about The Northport Project, visit:
Have a question? Want to tell us your story? E-mail us at:

Any amount, no matter how big or small, is greatly needed and appreciated.  To donate click here:

With many thanks,

The Northport Project

Direct Contact:
Jamie Paparich

“When you find the cause you have found the cure.”

Safety Levels for Toxins Far From Safe

From Puzzle to Mystery:
More Data Isn’t Enough to Address Public Health Problems

Malcolm Gladwell describes the difference between a puzzle and a mystery in one of his essays entitled “Open Secrets” from his recent book What the Dog Saw. He suggests that when you’re trying to work out a puzzle, you simply need to collect more information in order to uncover what is hidden or obscured — and thus solve the puzzle. Figuring out a mystery, however, is more complex. Often more information is not useful, and even counterproductive, because it muddies the waters, according to Gladwell. Instead, what is often needed is a better, smarter analysis of information already available and the ability to take effective action based on that analysis. Gladwell uses examples such as Enron, World War II, Watergate and Al Qaeda to demonstrate how puzzles and mysteries are distinct and therefore need different responses.

I think this distinction is useful to apply to the environmental health field as well. Over the years, many of us (including yours truly) have viewed environmental health related concerns as puzzles to figure out. By this, I mean we have sought more information — more facts, graphs, methodologies, and so forth, believing that if we could just bring more data to light, we would solve the puzzle and improve public health. This method has worked to a certain point. For example, with increasingly sophisticated scientific tools over the last century, what were considered “safe” thresholds of exposures to lead and mercury have dropped and dropped to the point where many researchers think that any exposure to these heavy metals can have some negative impact on neurodevelopment.

But with the recent revolution in science regarding endocrine disrupting chemicals and how even minute exposures in utero at certain developmental windows can have lifelong impacts, we have come to realize that simply collecting more and more data is not adequate. In other words, what seemed like a puzzle — using Gladwell’s framing-has transformed into a mystery.

In fact, the magnitude of information we have is so vast, and growing daily, that our greater challenge is not uncovering more, but making sense of what we have — and in turn, acting on it effectively. Public health policies and legal structures are still based on old toxicological and risk assessment methods that do not incorporate systems thinking and cumulative impacts. This means that we are not addressing the realities of the human experience across the lifespan — including the myriad and interacting factors from socioeconomic status to toxic exposures that impact our health. In short, the real problem is that we, collectively, aren’t making very good use of what we know.

More skilled and wise discernment is clearly needed. As partners of CHE, you are already working to solve this increasingly complex mystery using a variety of strategies. As collaborators in this process and given your own expertise, your ideas about how CHE might be more effective in our collective efforts would be greatly welcomed. To that end, please take a few moments to respond to our survey if you haven’t already (complete the CHE Partner survey — open until September 19th). As CHE moves towards its 10th anniversary, your insights and ideas will help inform and enrich our deliberations at the upcoming retreat of the core leadership of CHE in October.

Many thanks for your ongoing contributions, dedication and partnership,

Elise Miller, MEd
Director, Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE)

Cumulative Impacts recognizes Northport Project

The Northport Project mentioned under “New in the Collections” on the Cumulative Impacts Project website:

Cumulative Impacts Project + The Northport Project

Cumulative Impacts Working Group

This Working Group receives information about and participates in the Cumulative Impacts Project.

This is a project of CHE with the Science and Environmental Health Network (SEHN), along with an advisory group of environmental health and justice advocates, scientists, scholars, and agency staff members.

“Cumulative impacts” refers to the total harm to human health and the environment that results from combinations of assaults and stressors over time.

The Cumulative Impacts Project is dedicated to promoting science, law, and policy that will reduce cumulative impacts.

Our laws and decision-making structures have either ignored cumulative impacts or called for addressing them without saying how.

This is beginning to change, however. The Cumulative Impacts Project aims to move that conversation forward by pooling information on cumulative impacts in three spheres:

Ecosystems—local, planetary, climate change

Communities—environmental justice and vulnerable populations

Human health—multiple factors in disease and disability

These three spheres represent different aspects of the problem of cumulative impacts and leverage points for addressing it. They also overlap and affect each other.

Together they call for new precautionary decision structures and initiatives aimed at reducing total environmental impacts.

The Cumulative Impacts Project website collects the latest science, emerging best practices, analytical tools, and legal shifts that can reduce cumulative harm to our planet, our communities, and ourselves.

This information is being collected on the Cumulative Impacts Project website which launched in May 2011. Visit this website 

The Cumulative Impacts Working Group conducts monthly conference calls about a project or issue related to cumulative impacts on human health and the environment, often with one presenter followed by discussion.

We hope you will join us!

Contact the Cumulative Impacts Project to learn more, suggest resources for the website,  and add your ideas.


If you think THE NORTHPORT PROJECT is the perfect opportunity to be one of the communities to participate in this groundbreaking, over due and extremely necessary research please contact The Cumulative Impacts Project and let them know!


A Community Awareness Program designed to Educate, Protect, Empower and Impact the residents of Northport, Washington.


“There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the later ignorance.” – Hipporates

Programs such as the Cumulative Impacts on Health: New Community- Based Research, offered by The Collaborative On Health And The Environment (www., and many Other exciting new programs dedicated to bringing together scientist, researchers and communities affected by chronic exposure to environmental toxins. These communities are finally getting the chance to have a voice get scientifically correct information and educational programs that will gi the education and the power they have long deserved, but been denied.

These programs are meant to educate the residents on the current toxins they are exposed to, as well as the different routes of exposure. This information is not meant to scare residents or cause a panic within the community. The educational information, workshops, programs and meetings are necessary to provide the community with the knowledge and the tools to protect themeselves.  Knowledge is power, the power to learn ways to reduce the amount of exposure to the toxins known to be above the recommended safety levels, the power to protect their health by free annual health screenings, the power to keep themselves healthy by learning the many different minerals and vitamins that they may need more, or less, of.and lessening the risks to these toxins that are known to be found at a higher than normal level in the area. With this information they are empowered to protect themselves and their families. They are also empowered with the opportunity to help future generations avoid the possible health issues they have faced, or watched their families and friends face for over three generations.



“Many can help one.: – Unknown

The most important thing the program wants to accomplish is to be able to offer free annual health screenings to residents. It is undeniable that the health issues, diseases and cancers found in the area and linked to the multiple toxins the community has been chronically exposed to.

However, free annual health screenings will lead to early detection of most, if not all, of the health issues. Early detection is the key to surviving any illness, disease, or cancer.


“Blame is safer than praise.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Not only that, but the free annual health screenings can serve as a long term epidemiological research study that toxicologists are admittedly in desperate need of. The results of the diagnosed issues from the years of annual health screenings can give accurate data as to whether or not the current safety levels for chronic exposure to many of these toxins are set to low, as well as identify other health issues they are possibly causing, or triggering.

Another important field of data would be the levels of specific toxins of concern found in their blood work done annually on residents, (which could lead to enough data to result in research regarding the correlation of elevated toxins and deficient or elevated minerals and/or vitamins.) It could be possible that simple vitamin and mineral supplements could cure, or at least ease the symptoms of, some of these illnesses.)


“Sometimes the people whom we’ve known for only a short amount of time have a bigger impact on us than those we’ve known forever” – Unknown

There is nothing we can do about the health impact the decades of pollutants we were unknowingly exposed have created. However, by participating in surveys and studies, the Northport residents can impact the health of future generations for the better.

By being given the opportunity to participating in surveys and studies, the Northport residents have a chance to use the negative impacts these toxins created not only in their health, but in their quality of life. They can help scientists and researchers learn and discover treatments and possibly cures to these illnesses, and I turn impact the health of future generations for the better.


A Beautiful Town, Getting Better Everyday!

Our environment is getting safer every day, in part because of the research and cleaner, safer practices being done by Teck, which has resulted in a reported 96% decrease of heavy metal toxins being disposed of into the Columbia River.

The organizations and individuals mentioned below spent decades fighting for accurate studies, extensive research, and epidemiological studies for the Upper Columbia River and the small communities living along it; Thanks to Citizens for a Clean Columbia (CCC), The Colville Confederate Tribe, The Lake Roosevelt Water Quality Council, The Upper Columbia United Tribes, Lake Roosevelt Forum, and every other group and individual who united to get studies done on the Upper Columbia River and brought attention to the contamination the research discovered. The results of their research & persistence forced Teck to stop dumping slag into the river in 1996.

Thanks to the members of the Pakootas Tribe who had the courage to petition the EPAand finally get the ball rolling on the previous and current Remedial Investigation & Feasibility Studies, as well as the Human Health Risk Assessment. Thanks to the countless others I did not specifically name. It is because of the participation ofeach individualperson, fighting for the same goal, which brings about change.

Also, In recent years the work done by the EPA and the Department of Ecology, as well as their willingness to include the above mentioned tribes and organizations in the decision making,(specifically due to EPA Project Manager Helen Botcher and

Dpt. Of Ecology Toxicologist John Rowland and Chuck Gruenfeilder)

THE FUTURE OF NORTHPORT Northport is one of the most beautiful areas in the world. Our family never plans to sell the family farm or leave the area. We also want to see Northport grow through tourism and local businesses,

The Northport Project’s hope is to NOT scare people away from Northport. We want t0 make it clear visitors are in no danger of enjoying the many recreational activities our area has to offer–several studies have proven that annual recreational exposure to the area does not pose any health risks at all

However, we want to ensure the residents who are exposed to the toxins, 365 days of the year, are educated and protected, so they can continue living in the town they love so much. Also, we want to empower the residents. By their participation in studies and research they will not only protect the health of future generations of Northport residents, but of future generations of communities just like ours throughout the entire world.


“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Learn more at: To receive updates on all studies and other information via e-mail make sure to register at our blog (register button at top right)

Northport Project for the 2011 NIEHS Visionary Idea!!

 Northport Project for the 2011 NIEHS Visionary Idea!!

We made it in for final consideration under the Affected/Susceptible Population category!

Below is timeline of NIEHS Strategic Planning Process –

Strategic Planning Process (all dates are anticipated)

Step Details
Introduce and Describe Process Presentations and information meetings to NIEHS staff, the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council, other NIEHS Advisory Boards and informal groups, and all external stakeholder communities. NIEHS Strategic planning website live. Federal Register notice published.
Solicitation of Visionary Ideas and Nominations for Community Workshop [March - April 2011] Left "Participate" marker for whole box Visionary Ideas relate to broad-based scientific directions for the environmental health sciences community that will help to shape the vision for NIEHS over the next five years. At , visitors can submit, vote on, or comment on Visionary Ideas, as well as discuss strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for NIEHS.
Community Workshop [July 2011] Left "Participate" marker for whole box Approximately 200 individuals from NIEHS and its stakeholder communities will participate in a 3-day meeting (including travel time) on July 12-13, 2011, in North Carolina to discuss Visionary Ideas, SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), and other ideas we’re passionate about regarding the NIEHS. This meeting will be conducted in a modified Open Space Technology (   format to encourage maximum synergy.
Public Comment on Input to Date [August - September 2011] Left "Participate" marker for whole box NIEHS invites the public and all other stakeholders and staff to comment on the synthesized input received to date through the online and the Community Workshop, which will be posted online 
Strategic Planning Workshop [October 2011] Left "Participate" marker for whole box NIEHS will convene a 2-day meeting in North Carolina of  40–50 individuals who have participated in this process. This group will be charged with developing an NIEHS Mission Statement, Vision Statement, and five to eight Strategic Goals.
Public Comment on Draft Strategic Goals, Mission and Vision [November 2011] Left "Participate" marker for whole box NIEHS invites the public and all other stakeholders and staff to comment on the draft Strategic Goals, Mission Statement, and Vision Statement for the NIEHS, which will be posted online.
NIEHS Senior Leadership Internal Meetings NIEHS senior leadership will hold meetings of internal scientists and staff within various divisions and offices to solicit input and expertise on implementation strategies for each of the draft Strategic Goals.
NIEHS Senior Leadership Draft Implementation Strategies NIEHS senior leadership will hold a series of meetings to synthesize the input received from the Internal meetings into Draft Implementation Strategies.
National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council Meeting [February 2012] Left "Participate" marker for whole box The National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council Meeting will be held at the NIEHS campus in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and an update on the Strategic Plan will be given at the council meeting. This meeting is open to the public, and stakeholders and staff are encouraged to attend.
Writing of Draft Strategic Plan An NIEHS writing team will develop narrative text incorporating and explaining the Mission, Vision, Strategic Goals, and Implementation Strategies and format this information into the Draft Strategic Plan.
Public Comment on Draft Strategic Plan [April 2012] Left "Participate" marker for whole box NIEHS will post the Draft Strategic Plan online. NIEHS invites the public and all other stakeholders and staff to comment on the draft Strategic Plan, which will be posted online. NIEHS will also publish the draft Strategic Plan in the Federal Register.
Final Strategic Plan Presentation [June 2012] Left "Participate" marker for whole box NIEHS leadership and staff will prepare the final Strategic Plan and present it to NIEHS staff and to the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council at its regular meeting. This meeting is open to the public, and stakeholders and staff are encouraged to attend.
Publication of Final Strategic Plan [July 2012] Left "Participate" marker for whole box NIEHS will publish the final Strategic Plan in a variety of formats including online and print and will disseminate it as widely as possible to all stakeholders and interested parties.

Vote for The Northport Project as Visionary Ideas for Health & Environmental Research

Please go to and vote for The Northport Project as the top visionary idea for researching health issues linked to environmental toxins.  The Projects suggests free annual screenings for Northport residents – these screenings would assist in early detection of the cancers and diseases that are being found, most of which have no symptoms.  Early detection is the most effective tool to beating any disease.  The data collected from the free annual health screenings and the hair element tests can also be used in a long term study of other health impacts from on going exposure to toxins that  now all meet the safety levels set by our protection agencies. 

The data from the on going study will ensure safety levels for chronic exposure to multiple toxins are not too high.  The  current safety levels are still considered to be set way too high for chronic exposure.  The levels that have been researched at length are the recreational exposure levels (35 days a year).  This may protect visitors, but the residents continue to watch as their health and safety is simply ignored, as if no one is in their town more than 35 days out of the year.  The lack of data available sends the message – if you are in the area more than 35 days, you might want to rethink where to spend the other 330 days left in you year, perhaps the summer home on the east coast?  Northport residents live in Northport, year round, because they love their town and their home.  They will not be ignored, or scared to stay put.  They will however demand that their health and safety is being monitored and they can feel safe to go on living in the town they love, all year, every year, for as many years as they want.  Not to mention the data the study will gather will help set levels to protect future generations of Northport residents and all the other small communities across the Country just like them. 

Please vote – multiple times – pass it along!!!!

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