On Sunday, October 20, 2019, Dr Aly Cohen, founder of The Smart Human presented at TEDxCapeMay. Now in its eighth season, TEDxCapeMay explores “Imagination & Innovation" through outstanding presenters from a wide variety of fields. The event takes place in a 1,000 seat performing arts theater in Cape May New Jersey.
Dr Cohen's research has revealed WHY adolescents and teens are THE MOST IMPORTANT demographic for environmental health information. Teens are a unique audience for learning environmental health information...
- they are developing at an ENORMOUS rate
- they use the most personal care products daily than any other demographic
- they are tech savvy and understand how to use helpful apps and websites efficiently
- they are "body aware"
- they will likely disseminate this info to their parents and siblings
- they will possibly have kids one day which will help reduce chemical and radiation exposure during pregnancy
- they will soon be able to vote and help shape the politics around environmental policy and regulation
- they can help move the consumer product market in a safer direction, just through purchasing power.
Adolescents and teens are also at a time in their lives where they can learn to make better decisions for their health; whether it concerns preventing date rape, saying "no" to drugs and alcohol, dealing with bullying, seeking help for depression, and discussing sexuality and contraceptive options. Chemical and radiation information is an added layer of health and well-being that is relevant for our time; it is a growing topic of awareness, and concern... but with adolescents and teens, there is opportunity to make a real difference at a young age, that will affect their health for the rest of their lives!
Here are a few more important facts:
-Teens use the most personal care products, per day (15 each) of any segment of the U.S. population, followed by adult women (12 each) and adult men (6 each)
- A study from 2014 showed that half of 12-14-year-olds wear make-up most days and 17% refuse to leave the house without make-up, 63% go to bed with their make-up on at least once per week.
-There is no federal regulatory oversight in the U.S. for personal care products... and the vast majority of chemical ingredients have not been tested for safety or toxicity... especially in children, teens and pregnant women... when humans are most vulnerable to health effects.
-According to the HERMOSA trial in 2015, when teenage girls are given the right information and safer personal care products are used, their blood and urine levels of many harmful chemicals (parabens, phthalates, triclosan, oxybenzone eg.) dropped dramatically!
-Teens are just starting to form habits that they will use for the rest of their lives, so establishing healthy habits will help them live healthier lives as adults.
- Among other issues that are critical to teen wellness: turf on sports fields, safe use of cell phones and other cellular technology (radiation), indoor & outdoor air pollution (also vaping), food additives/processed foods, chemicals in feminine care products, clean drinking water, food packaging and cookware, environmental exposures and mental health.
Dr. Aly Cohen is a board certified rheumatologist and integrative medicine specialist, as well as an environmental health expert. She has collaborated with the Environmental Working Group, Cancer Schmancer, and other disease prevention organizations, and is co-editor of the textbook, “Integrative Environmental Medicine”, part of the Oxford University Press, Weil Integrative Medicine Library. In 2015, she created TheSmartHuman.com to share environmental health and prevention information with the public. She lectures nationally on 'environmental health' topics for elementary/high schools, colleges/universities, medical schools, and physician training programs, and she is a regular expert guest for television, print, and podcasts.
Dr. Cohen is working to educate and empower the 'next generation' to make safer, smarter lifestyle choices through the creation of environmental health and prevention curriculum for schools nationally. Her consumer book, "Non-Toxic: Living Healthy in a Chemical World", will be released in 2020. You can follow her health tips and recommendations on Facebook: The Smart Human, Twitter and Instagram: @thesmarthuman and read her blog and posts at TheSmartHuman.com.