Beyond Pesticides is sad to say goodbye to a dear friend and colleague, Theo Colborn, who at the age of 87, passed away on Sunday, December 14 at home surrounded by her family. Dr. Colborn is author of the groundbreaking book Our Stolen Future, president of The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX) and Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida, Gainesville. She is the author of numerous scientific publications about compounds that interfere with hormones and other chemical messengers that control development in wildlife and humans. Her incisive research has demonstrated that endocrine disrupting chemicals alter development of the fetus in the womb by interfering with the natural hormonal signals directing fetal growth. Her work has prompted the enactment of new laws around the world.
Dr. Colborn was presented with Beyond Pesticides’ highest honor, its Dragonfly Award, at the organization’s 25th Anniversary Gala in 2006, “For tireless dedication advancing knowledge and action to protect health and the environment.” Upon accepting the award, she said to those who chose her as the recipient that she would do her best not to let them down, and she hasn’t. One year later, she was honored by Time magazine as a global Environmental Hero, and she worked tirelessly to educate the public about the dangers of endocrine disruption until the day she died.
In October, 2012, Theo Colborn gave a presentation at a TEDxMidAtlantic event in Washington DC in which she read a letter she sent to President Obama. In the letter, she reminds them of the current epidemics of endocrine-related disorders and describes how the laws that were supposed to protect us have let us down. She closes with two practical suggestions for the President to take action.
Dr. Colborn has served on numerous advisory panels, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Science Advisory Board, the Ecosystem Health Committee of the International Joint Commission of the United States and Canada, the Science Management Committee of the Toxic Substances Research Initiative of Canada, the U.S. EPA Endocrine Disruptor Screening and Testing Advisory Committee, and the EPA Endocrine Disruption Methods and Validation Subcommittee. She has published and lectured extensively on the transgenerational effects of toxic chemicals on the developing endocrine, immune, metabolic, and nervous systems in the womb and early childhood. She also spoke at Beyond Pesticides’ 29th National Pesticide Forum in Denver, CO in 2011. Her talk, Beyond Lists: Where did all those pesticides come from? discusses pesticide health impacts and the petrochemical industry.
Theo’s family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to TEDX.
The Endocrine Disruption Exchange has a forum to share your Theo Colborn story.
All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.