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April 14, 2004

Author Devra Lee Davis to Present Final Falmouth Forum of the Season

WOODS HOLE, MA - Devra Lee Davis, renowned epidemiologist and author of National Book Award finalist, When Smoke Ran Like Water: Tales of Environmental Deception and the Battle Against Pollution will present the final Falmouth Forum of the 2003-2004 season on Friday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the Marine Biological Laboratory's Lillie Auditorium, MBL Street, Woods Hole. The presentation is sponsored by the Associates of the Marine Biological Laboratory.

In her highly acclaimed book, Davis confronts both public triumphs and private failures in the battle against environmental pollution. She reports on the deadly London smog of 1952 (when deaths were falsely attributed to influenza); behind-the-scenes machinations by oil companies and auto manufacturers to keep lead in gasoline; and the pollution that killed many in her own family and forced others - survivors of the 1948 smog emergency in Donora, Pennsylvania - to live out their lives with damaged health.

Davis will speak about how environmental toxins contribute to a broad spectrum of human diseases and how industrial and governmental interests have hidden the very high costs of progress. from the public view. Among the topics addressed in her book are how breast and other cancers are linked with exposures to avoidable environmental contaminants; how environmental toxins play a role in the growing health problems men face, including increased cases of sterility and testicular cancer; and how the health risks children suffer from exposure to the environment, such as birth defects and asthma, have remained in dispute and unresolved far longer than necessary. She also reports on promising new technologies and business activities that are promoting cleaner, greener, and more efficient was of developing economies in the United States and abroad.

Davis studies environmental health and chronic disease. Since 1999 she has been a Visiting Professor at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz School. She is also an Honorary Professor at London's School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a Visiting Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City, a Visiting Scientist of the Strang Cornell Cancer Prevention Center of the Rockefeller University, and Expert Advisor to the World Health Organization.

Davis holds a B.S. in Physiological Psychology and an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Pittsburgh.   She completed a Ph.D. in science studies at the University of Chicago as a Danforth Foundation Graduate Fellow, and a M.P.H. in epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University as a Senior National Cancer Institute Post-Doctoral Fellow.   Davis has authored more than 170 publications in books and journals ranging from Scientific American to the Journal of the American Medical Association, to the New York Times

. Admission to this Falmouth Forum presentation is free and open to the public. A buffet dinner is available before the lecture at 6:00 p.m. in the Swope Center located near the auditorium. Dinner tickets are $16 and must be purchased in person and in advance at either Eight Cousins Children's Books, Main Street, Falmouth, or at the MBL's Communications Office in the Candle House in Woods Hole.  Dinner seats are limited and available until they sell out or until 5:00 PM on Tuesday, April 27.    All tickets are nonrefundable. For more information contact the MBL's Communications Office at 508-289-7423.

The MBL Associates were founded in 1944 to provide an opportunity for friends of the Laboratory, both scientists and non-scientists, to support the MBL.   Over the years the Associates have taken on a wide range of projects, including providing fellowships for young scientists, supporting the MBL WHOI Library, renovating the Lillie Auditorium, and landscaping the Whitman-Loeb quadrangle on the Woods Hole campus.   The Associates also help bring the work of the Laboratory to a broader public by sponsoring the Falmouth Forum Series and operating the MBL Gift Shop.   Membership is open to anyone with an interest in the Laboratory.

The Marine Biological Laboratory is an internationally known, independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to improving the human condition through creative research and education in the biological, biomedical and environmental sciences. Founded in 1888, the MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the Western Hemisphere.