Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Patt Morrison for Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

1-3 p.m.






1:06 – 1:39





1:41:30 – 1:58:30

Flame retardants: the new asbestos? This time in baby products & furniture

In the 1970s, chemical flame retardants were banned from being used in children’s pajamas because of a connection found to cancer. New research now finds that the same chemical, Tris, is in furniture and baby products, such as nursing pillows, car seats, and highchairs. Critics of the chemical point to studies finding relation between the chemical and reduced IQ in children, reduced fertility, thyroid problems, endocrine disruption, and cancer. Defendants of the fire retardant chemical say that the retardants have dramatically lessened deaths caused by upholstered furniture and that it is not clear that the flame retardant actually comes out of the product. In direct opposition, Tris critics claim the retardant has not actually increased fire safety. About a month ago, state Sen. Mark Leno’s Consumer Choice Fire Safety Act, which would create an alternative furniture standard that maintains fire safety without the chemical retardant, was voted down 8 to 1 in committee—critics say because of the powerful fire retardant chemical industry lobby. The Act will be up for a vote again within the year. How will California legislators—whose strict flammability rule has become a de facto national standard—juggle their efforts to protect Californians and their babies from being burned as well as from getting cancer?



Thinks flame retardants should be banned:

Arlene Blum, Ph.D., biophysical chemist and executive director, Green Science Policy Institute, a nonprofit that brings scientific data about toxic chemicals to policy makers; contributed to the elimination of Tris flame retardants in children’s pajamas in the 1970s



Thinks flame retardants aren’t proven harmful:

Gordon Nelson, vice president for academic affairs and professor of chemistry, Florida Institute of Technology




2:06 – 2:30

Donor Unknown: Adventures in the Sperm Trade

When JoEllen was 7, her two mothers showed her the donor profile of her anonymous biological father: age 28, Caucasian, 6”, blue eyes, light brown hair. A year ago, at age 20, JoEllen used the online Donor Sibling Registry to connect with more than a dozen of her half-siblings. The New York Times picked up the story, and Jeffrey Harrison, living alone with four dogs and a pigeon in a broken-down RV in a Venice Beach car park, got a hold of the story. Jeffrey donated sperm three or four times a week, totaling 500 times, during the 1980s and 1990s to help pay the rent—and JoEllen and her half-siblings were the result. The documentary Donor Unknown tells the story of the new kind of ‘family’ that evolves when Jeffrey decides to give up anonymity and meet his children. As several countries start to ban donor anonymity, there is a booming industry in the U.S. of reproductive tourism and shipping eggs and sperm abroad. Should the U.S. put children’s rights over adults’, as critics argue, and ban donor anonymity? Given the fear of half-siblings meeting romantically, should there be a limit to the number of times a person can donate egg or sperm? Should parents be obligated to tell their children if they have a donor parent?



JoEllen Marsh, the protagonist of the documentary Donor Unknown



Vardit Ravitsky, assistant professor of bioethics, University of Montreal



Dr. Cappy M. Rothman, co-founder and medical director, California Cryobank, largest sperm bank in the U.S.





2:30 – 2:39





2:41:30 – 2:58:30

Should cheerleading become an NCAA sport?

Should cheerleading be a sport? The question has vexed universities, sports enthusiasts and feminists for decades, but now two groups have submitted competing proposals to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to recognize cheerleading as an emerging sport for women. Opponents have traditionally said it sends the wrong message to women, that it literally and figuratively puts them on the sidelines of male-dominated sports and offers universities an easy path to skirt Title IX obligations to provide equal athletic opportunities to male and female students. But competitive cheerleaders say that’s an image from the past; today’s cheering is much more sophisticated and deeply rooted in stunts and gymnastics.  To the casual observer, the competing proposals differ only in details—how the competition should be scored, how to structure the season and whether the sport will ultimately look more like stunts or gymnastics. But both aim to make it an NCAA-recognized sport that would ban cheerleaders from cheering for other athletic games. What could that mean for athletic scholarships and even the iconic image of cheerleaders on the sidelines?




Karen Morrison, directs the emerging sports process for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)


Barbara Osbourne, a scholarship basketball player who graduated from the University of Wisconsin and who now advises universities on gender-equity issues


Bill Seely, executive director of USA Cheer


Renee Baumgartner, spokesperson with the National Collegiate Athletics and Tumbling Association


Jonathan Serviss
Senior Producer, Patt Morrison
Southern California Public Radio
NPR Affiliate for Los Angeles
89.3 KPCC-FM | 89.1 KUOR-FM | 90.3 KPCV-FM
626.583.5171, office
415.497.2131, mobile
jserviss@kpcc.org / jserviss@scpr.org


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