For nearly 30 years TEDX's founder Dr. Theo Colborn dedicated herself to revealing the dangers of endocrine disrupting chemicals to wildlife, humans and the environment. More recently she alerted us to the threats posed by chemicals associated with oil and gas development.
Theo’s visionary leadership and passion shone most brilliantly when she made direct connections between new ideas, scientists whose work confirmed them, impacted individuals, and people in positions to change what needed changing. She will be remembered for many generations to come, generations that she worked tirelessly to protect.
Below is a memorial of stories that people submitted to TEDX after her death on December 14, 2014. If you have a story you would like to share, please submit it at the bottom of this page.
I wish I would have had the chance to thank Theo Colborn for her work before she passed away, so now I would like to thank the many others who are furthering the research into endocrine disruptors because my child has been irreparably harmed. It is something I recently traced back to prenatal exposure to bisphenol A. Doctors may think I’m crazy but I know I’m right.
During 1999, my husband and I were working in a CD manufacturing plant in which polycarbonate was injection molded to form CD’s. BPA is a key ingredient of polycarbonate. OSHA must consider BPA exposure safe for pregnant women since no warnings were contained in the MSDS sheet for polycarbonate. When melted purge in a metal tray was removed from the molders we got a kick out of slowly lifting the tray from the floor to make decorative shapes as it cooled and hardened. We breathed the fumes, handled the raw pellets with our bare hands, and swept the spilled pellets and dust from the floor. We had never heard of endocrine disruption and thought all was harmless. I was also in my first trimester of pregnancy.
My son was born with an attenuated foreskin, a hallmark of endocrine disruption. His health problems have progressed to the point where we have to homeschool him because he cannot meet public school attendance requirements. Blood tests show autoimmune antibodies, hypogonadism, and vitamin D deficiency (in spite of vitamin supplements). Other results point towards a future of liver & kidney problems, diabetes, osteoporosis, polycythemia, hypothyroidism, coronary artery disease, leukopenia and mixed connective tissue disease. Scoliosis of his spine is now occurring, as are symptoms of Reynaud’s disease, and he suffers from IBS, insomnia, anxiety, frequent headaches, and sleep paralysis. Our worst fear of cancer may not occur for years since there can be a long latency period between the time of exposure and resulting deleterious health effects.
My son has also been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, and judging by the number of parents of transgender children attending PFLAG meetings as we do, gender dysphoria seems to be well on the way to becoming an epidemic. This is not surprising given the huge increases in the number of intersex animals caused by endocrine disruptors in our environment, but we are supposed to believe that what affects wildlife does not affect humans.
BPA has been declared safe by our governmental regulatory agencies based on industry-funded junk science studies. I’m sure those who were associated with Theo and are carrying her torch know the details. All I wish to say is the EPA’s direct violation of EO 13045 resulted in my son being 15 years old in a 65 year old body.
Sociopaths defending chemical industries have the audacity to tell us that our health has been improved by products being manufactured with poison and it wouldn’t be cost-effective to use safe alternatives. We must allow the poisoning of a few for the greater good of society. My family is just collateral damage like so many others with cancers, autoimmune disorders, and other medical maladies that were virtually non-existent before industrial chemicals invaded our bodies. But it’s not just a few anymore.
Most people are like I was years ago, unaware of the mass poisoning that is occurring. When my grandson passed away at 6 months old, I left the hospital and looked at the stars and wondered why God would allow a child to be born and taken so early. But then I had a revelation. It was like my grandson said “Look Mimi, look around you. The answer is there.” It was then I linked my son’s problems to BPA and discovered the work done by Theo Colborn, Fredrick vom Saal, and many others.
I don’t know what to do and get so frustrated by the legion of doctors we have seen that are unable to connect the dots, but hopefully the work of Theo Colborn and those who carry her torch will raise awareness and effect change so future generations can be born healthy.
Theo's favorite quote is not from Goethe, except for the last two lines. The unmodified quote and source are:
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets:
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!”
― William Hutchison Murray
Many in the the world are very sad to lose Theo Colborn - passionate in caring for health and environment and real truth seeker and teller. Her work has been and will remain of utmost importance. I for one of many thank her for devoting much of her life to protect us all and our environment.
With deepest thanks and admiration,
Diane Drayton Buckland
Fluoride Information Australia
Happy Birthday, Theo. I miss your caring friendship, your uncanny insight, your deep commitment, your unorthodox sense of humor. I know you are still with us in the shining stars, the howling winds, the singing birds, the blossoming trees of Spring. With love, always.
Director, Pesticides Science and Regulation
American Bird Conservancy
I first met Theo when I was a graduate student and several times since. It was a great honor then and remains so now. I am carrying her work forward and will remember with gratitude the time I spent with her.
I was very sad to learn of the passing of Theo Colburn. I often used the TEDx site when teaching classes to my students. Her passing is a great loss to the human community.
As I write a new book, low dose endocrine disruption will feature prominently. I will carry this torch and I hope others will take up this task as well.
Let us honor Theo by continuing the important work she started.
I am an American living in France for 39 years and I'm writing you on behalf of the large network in France of citizen collectives against gas fracking to express our deepest condolences on the death of Theo Colborn. We first saw her in the movie Gasland by Josh Fox. That film was the essential thing that triggered the resistance in France against fracking. Dr Colborn is highly appreciated here for her work revealing the danger to public health of the chemicals used in fracking.
In the autumn of 2010 a French environmental journalist named Fabrice Nicolino sounded the first alert to the public about gas fracking. Permits had been granted by the French government to energy companies to explore for shale gas without notifying and consulting the population. Popular resistance grew fast.
Fabrice Nicolino has a blog on internet called "Planète Sans Visa" (" Planet Without a Visa"). On December 15, 2014 he wrote this in his blog about Theo Colborn : http://fabrice-nicolino.com/index.php/?p=1847.
I'm trying to send you here a file of a tranlation into English of Nicolino's Blog about Dr. Colborn. For information, Nicolino happened to be in the Charlie Hebdo meeting when the assassins arrived on 7 January. He was one of the 4 survivors and was critically wounded in both legs, thigh, shoulder..., but his life was not in danger and he is now writing again in his blog http://fabrice-nicolino.com/index.php/?p=1862.
/Users/joanbaur/Desktop/Nicolino on Theo Colborn.pdf
I don't know if this form of the pdf file of the English translation is going to work here in this comment space, so I will also send it in an email to Carol Kwiatkowski.
Please excuse my delay in communicating.
With sympathies from all of us in France against gas fracking and best wishes for your continuation.
34150 Montpeyroux, France
First sent Monday, December 15, 2014 at 12:27 PM
Dear Carol and friends at TEDX,
The world will be so much poorer in spirit for the loss of one of the great human spirits of our time.
What an amazing wonder she was!—in every way! And what a privilege we have all had to have been able to know Theo and to experience her passion—passion for life, passion for love and passion for the love of life itself.
I will miss her terribly!
In heartfelt sympathy to Theo’s family and friends, to the TEDX family in Paonia, and to us all who knew and loved her,
Terrence J. Collins, Ph.D., Hon FRSNZ
Teresa Heinz Professor of Green Chemistry
and Director, Institute for Green Science
Department of Chemistry
Carnegie Mellon University
4400 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: (412) 268-6335. FAX: (412) 268-1061
I am a South African, but nobody special.... I first read Our Stolen Future about 15 or 20 years ago, and since then have considered Theo Colborn my hero. She has inspired me to change my life and those of my 4 now 30 something children and their children. I have spoken, and continue to speak on endocrine disruption to anyone who gives me a minute to bend their ear. I hope I have managed to change some other lives.
If you can change one person's life, it makes life worthwhile..... so that is how worthwhile Theo's life was and even now her amazing legacy lives on.....