On this interview published today on loud.com Jennifer talks about Dr Philip Landrigan and the Children’s Environmental Health Center.
Actress Jennifer Beals is a passionate supporter of the work done by Dr. Philip Landrigan at the Children’s Environmental Health Center in Manhattan. She has raised more than $85,000 for the center
Hollywood celebrities are known for embracing causes — and dropping them soon after. Jennifer Beals’ passion for Dr. Philip Landrigan’s work at the Children’s Environmental Health Center goes beyond a fleeting interest.
In December, she celebrated her birthday by raising more than $35,000 for the center. Earlier last year, she raised $50,000 for the CEHC through the sale of proceeds from “The L Word Book,” featuring her photos from her Showtime series.
“I’m like a Dr. Landrigan groupie,” she says. “I love him, and I love the center, and it’s largely amazing because of how he’s built it.”
Beals, who’s working on a new TV series, explained recently how she got involved with Landrigan and the Manhattan-based center.
How did all of this start?
I was working on “The L Word,” and an actress told the makeup artist she wanted makeup without parabens or phthalates, and we all looked at each other like, “What’s that?” And so began the journey down the rabbit hole. Because once you find out there are all these additives and preservatives in everyday products, the next step is, you’re asking why these things are there. And how is it that our government doesn’t protect us, and our schools don’t protect us?
What happened next?
I found out about the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (a law aimed at regulating chemicals used in products, viewed by many as ineffective) and became a little bit more aware. But I didn’t get to Dr. Landrigan until I was at my old high school in Chicago, and I heard they were changing over what had been a grass field to an artificial turf field with crumb rubber. I started to do a little bit of research on the material, and I found all these warnings about the different carcinogens and endocrine disruptors and various toxins that are in the tire crumb. Because basically, what is good for a tire is not good for a child.
What did doctors tell you when you asked about crumb rubber in artificial turf?
They said if you really want to know about pediatric environmental health, you have to talk to Dr. Landrigan. Everybody said the same thing. They said he’s the guy. All arrows started pointing to Dr. Landrigan, who was like the wizard.
What makes Dr. Landrigan such a force in the area of children’s health?
There’s no sense of campaigning. He sincerely wants what’s best for every child on the earth. His research was critical in getting the EPA to remove lead from paint and gasoline, and that’s really helped every child and helped our awareness of the issue.
And your awareness of environmental toxins has increased as well.
Asthma rates have tripled, and leukemia and brain cancer rates are up since the ’70s. I know too many children with cancer. And it’s not explained by genetics. To have somebody like Dr. Landrigan building the lab for molecular and environmental chemistry and taking on the research projects that he does is just very exciting. My impulse was to try to help him as best I could, because all of our children’s health is in the balance.