Stand up for breathable air in Wayne County!


mi-coal-hearing-bannerTIME TO ACT – WE NEED YOU!

The health of Wayne County residents is at stake.  Communities in close proximity to the River Rouge and Trenton Channel Coal Plants have been deemed the “Epicenter of the State’s Asthma Burden.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that sulfur dioxide (SO2) levels in this area exceed safe levels for human health and is requiring the State to submit a plan to remedy the situation.

In response, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is holding hearings for permits that have been filed by DTE.  These permits will become part of the State’s plan.  It is important that the permits address and cure the EPA findings.

We need your voice to help us call on the MDEQ to hold polluters accountable.  We need clean air!


Wednesday, MARCH 11 2015
6pm: Informational  7pm: Testimony
River Rouge City Hall
10600 W. Jefferson Avenue

Call Catherine Thomasson if you have questions: 503-819-1170

The hearing provides an opportunity to improve the health of Wayne County residents by demanding reductions in local air pollution. A large area of Wayne County has unhealthy air because of high levels of sulfur dioxide pollution. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for SO2 are important to protect our health. To address this problem, the State of Michigan must submit a plan to reduce SO2.

The River Rouge and Trenton Channel coal plants produce 80% of the SO2 in Wayne County. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is holding a hearing addressing the permits that will determine the level of sulfur dioxide pollution reductions from DTE’s River Rouge and Trenton Channel coal plants. These permits will become part of the State’s plan to reduce SO2 pollution in this area.

Unfortunately, the permits as currently written do not require DTE to reduce SO2 pollution sufficiently to meet the Clean Air standards and protect the health of residents.


  • Exposure to sulfur dioxide in even very short time periods, harms our health, causing aggravation of asthma and other respiratory illnesses, existing heart disease, all leading to increased hospitalizations and premature deaths. It is also known to increase in pre-term births.
  • Asthmatics, children and the elderly are especially at risk from SO2 pollution.
  • There are 92 schools within the nonattainment area of Wayne County.
  • It is MDEQ’s responsibility to protect communities by requiring DTE to reduce SO2 emissions to meet federal standards, by either installing best-performing pollution controls or by ceasing burning coal.
  • The River Rouge coal plants are 60 years old and Trenton Channel number 9 is 46 years old and should be replaced by cleaner, more cost effective energy.
  • DTE has one of the most coal-dependent energy portfolios of any utility in the country and Michigan residents are paying for it with our health and our pocketbooks.
  • DTE’s River Rouge and Trenton Channel coal plants are contributing to climate change which is increasingly responsible for severe storms, water pollution, Lyme disease and heat-related health impacts.

Commemerating International Peace Day 9.18.2014


Commemorating International Peace Day

Rwandan Genocide 20 years later

September 18th, 2014 at University of Michigan Detroit Center, 3663 Woodward Ave.

Reception 6:00pm – 7:00pm (purchase ticket)
Program 7:00pm – 8:30pm

Rwandan Genocide 20 years later
“Medical, Ethical, and Moral challenges in an African Refugee Camp”

Rwanda 4

Join Michigan Physicians for Social Responsibility as we commemorate International Peace Day with an event highlighting the work of Dr. Michael Harbut as Medical Director in the Zairean Refugee camps during the Rwandan genocide.
Program will also include:
Poetry from Requiem, Rwanda by Author Laura Apol
Introduction of the Dr. Harbut Peace Award

More about Dr. Michael Harbut:
Michael R. Harbut, MD, MPH, FCCP is an internationally recognized expert in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the environment and workplace.  He is co-author of the American Thoracic Society’s most recent criteria for the diagnosis and treatment of asbestos-related diseases and is also co-author of findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine which reported two bio-markers for the presence of mesothelioma. He also published a report which discovered the probable cause of intractable pain in persons with pleural disease.
Harbut was chair of the Occupational and Environmental Lung Disease section of the American College of Chest Physicians and was the director of the National Center for Vermiculite and Asbestos-related Cancers. He has testified in front of the United States Senate and has lectured at the White House on the diagnosis of asbestos-related diseases.
Dr. Harbut has attended patients from around the world. When workers in the tunnels beneath the U.S. Capitol were found to have been exposed to asbestos, they traveled to Michigan to see Dr. Harbut for diagnosis and treatment.
Dr. Harbut was the chief U.S. medical advisor to Poland’s Solidarity during the Cold War and was medical coordinator of the Kibumba refugee camp during the Rwandese genocide of 1994. The Centers for Disease Control found the death rate in the part of the camp under Harbut’s direction was 30% of that of the remainder of Kibumba.
A Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine at Detroit’s Wayne State University, Dr. Harbut has appeared in many media outlets ranging from “Nightline” to “Consumer Reports”, and has been the recipient of a number of awards, medals and honors.
In the book, “An Air That Kills,” authors Andrew Schneider and David McCumber stated, “Dr. Michael Harbut is one of the courageous ones who have added to (Dr. Irving) Selikoff”s legacy.
“Harbut is not willing to sit back and watch as asbestosis patients die. He is one of only a few physicians trying to treat the disease aggressively, hoping to find a way to change the course of a longtime killer.”
Among his current activities, Dr. Harbut is medical advisor to the Breath of Life Foundation, the Insulators International Union and is a staff member at Southfield, Michigan’s Providence Hospital within the St. John Providence Health System.

Help Michigan PSR meet its Match!


Michigan PSR needs your help to Meet our Match!

Our Campaign: “MI PSR Match Grant Challenge” is underway and in order to reach our goal we need your contribution. 

How your donation will help: All Funds Raised will go directly toward continuing MI PSR’s efforts to shift Michigan’s primary energy source away from Coal. Our communities health and the planet are at stake!

Making a donation is super easy! Simply visit our campaign page and click donate. Any amount makes a huge difference toward meeting our goal!

– Stephanie D.

Media and Advocacy Training for Health Professionals – Sign up today!


Media and Advocacy Training for Health Professionals

July 21st, 6:30pm-8:00pm at 339 E. Liberty, 3rd fl. Ann Arbor, MI 48104 hosted by Physicians for Social Responsibility Michigan Chapter and Ecology Center.

This in person training is adapted for health professionals who are interested in best practices for engaging with media and  advocacy tools around emerging environmental and public health issues.  The training will include how to write letters to the editor, speak with the media, and utilize social media for public health advocacy with sound messaging.   Some refreshments will be provided.  Questions or RSVP to or 773.960.3325.

Highlighting Public Health and EPA Rule



“You will never hear me talk about the carbon rules without first mentioning public health”

Gina McCarthy, EPA Director

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to hear Gina McCarthy speak about the administration’s new Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon emissions. The quote above is one of the first things she said, and one of the things that stuck with me the most about her speech. I know that we’re on the right track for improving public health by supporting the carbon rules, but we need your help.

Framing the carbon rules discussion around public health ensures that our decision makers consider what is really at stake for our most vulnerable populations when it comes to energy policy. Our children, elderly, and many minority groups suffer the most from health impacts related to climate change, and we need to make sure that their stories are heard and their situations improved.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Children are especially vulnerable to both short-term illness and long-term damage from ambient air pollution, because… they breathe at a higher rate than adults and they spend more time outdoors engaging in vigorous physical activity. Air pollution (such as ozone and particulate matter) causes respiratory and asthma hospitalizations, school absences, increased respiratory symptoms, and decrements in lung function”.

We have until October 16, 2014 to let the EPA know how we feel about their proposed rules to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants, and we need your help to make sure that they make them as strong as possible to improve our public health.

If you haven’t already, will you submit a comment in support of these rules for whichever public health reason concerns you the most? If you click here you’ll be directed to our comment form, where you can edit our comment templates to tell the EPA why you support their Clean Power Plan.


Michigan Needs Strong Carbon Rules for Community HealthImage
Thanks for taking time to encourage our Senators to support the strongest possible rules to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants! In order to do their job and protect our communities from harmful emissions, they need to hear from you to know that they have support. Here is some information about how to reach the Senators, who you’ll talk to, and what to say.

Who will I talk to when I call?
When you call Senator Stabenow or Levin’s office, you’ll most likely speak with one of
their staff who answers the phones. Tell them that you’d like to leave a message for the
Senator, and then proceed with what you’d like to say. When their offices are especially
busy, they may have an automated inbox where you can leave a message.

How do I reach them?
Senator Carl Levin DC Office: 202.224.6221 Lansing Office: 517.377.1508

Senator Debbie Stabenow DC Office: 202.224.4822 Lansing Office: 517.203.1760
What should I say?
Make your comments personal and be sure to tell them where you live (so that they know you’re a constituent and pass your message on). You should also tell them anything relevant about who you are, like the fact that you’re a mother, a health professional, live in a polluted area, etc.

Phone messages are one of the ways through which the Senators expect to hear from their constituents, so you can feel comfortable taking your time and saying what you need to. They want to hear from you!

Here are a few talking points that go over how carbon emissions affect health in Michigan, which may be helpful in shaping what you’d like to say:

  • We know climate change will put vulnerable populations at greater risk
  • Including the elderly, our kids, and people already suffering from burdensome allergies, asthma, and other illnesses
  • Power plants are already required to limit emissions of other toxins like mercury, arsenic and heavy metals, but they continue to spew unlimited amounts of carbon into our air and water.
  • In 2012, 66 million metric tons of carbon pollution were emitted from power plants in Michigan.  Equal to the yearly pollution from over 13.5 million cars.  Pollution from Michigan’s nine oldest coal fired power plants has been linked to 68,000 cases of asthma attacks and 180 premature deaths annually.
  • According to the most recent estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10.5 percent of Michigan’s adult population and 10 percent of children in the state suffer from asthma (this is 10% higher than the national average)
  • A recent study attributed pollution from the state’s nine oldest coal plants to $1 billion a year in health care costs.
  • Carbon pollution is also the leading cause of climate change, which brings a host of additional dangers and health risks.
  • Climate change means more extreme weather events. The World Health Organization reports that hotter weather caused by climate change can increase levels of ozone and allergens in the air.
  • These are major contributors to asthma, making it harder for our kids to breathe.  And extreme heat events can be very dangerous, particularly for the elderly who are disproportionate ly likely to die from heat stroke.
  • Hotter weather and heavier rains due to Climate change means longer transmission seasons for diseases like Lyme disease, West Nile Virus, and even some parasites and food poisoning.
  • Dirty air exacerbated by climate change disproportionately affects low income communities, as well as children, seniors and those who work or play outdoors.
  • Nearly half of Americans live in counties that have unhealthy levels of dirty air, according to the American Lung Association.
  • Big polluters want to continue to dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air without penalty and without regard for the public health impacts on children, seniors and families, instead of adopting reasonable carbon pollution safeguards that protect public health and slow climate change.

Add Your Name – Health Professionals Support Strong EPA Carbon Rule


Add your to the growing list of Health Professionals and Allies Calling for a Strong EPA Carbon Rule

Michigan currently ranks 5th in the nation in premature deaths, hospital admissions, and heart attacks attributed to coal fired power plant pollution. This year the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is drafting rules to regulate and limit carbon emissions from existing coal plants, 23 of which are located in Michigan.

Health professionals and organizations can play a critical role in shaping policy that leads to healthier communities by supporting these new rules and emphasizing their connection to public EPA Logohealth. Physicians for Social Responsibility Michigan is working with organizations and health professionals from across the Midwest to send a letter in support of these rules to the EPA. Will you and/or your organization sign on to add your voice?




Signers as of 6.11.2014

Pamela A. Frucci, Grosse Ile, MI – Concerned citizen
Jake Terpstra, Grand Rapids, MI – Social Work
Judy Szczesny, Sterling Heights, MI – ARRT
Annette L Brown, Muskegon, MI – Cancer patient
Joanne Pohl, Ypsilanti, MI – Nurse Practitioner and Professor/University of Michigan
Gerald Fisher, Dearborn Heights, MI
Jean Bails, St. Clair Shores, MI – R.N., BSN, Public Health Nurse (retired)
Ruth Briggs, Trenton, MI
Carolyn Ferrell, Ann Arbor, MI – Social worker
Linda Wienir, Kalamazoo, Michigan
Kathleen Cramer, Grand Rapids, MI – RN, LP, PhD
Rev. James C. Johnson, Muskegon, MI – Chaplain / Rev. / Mercy Health
Larry Junck MD, Ann Arbor, MI – Neuro-oncology/MD/University of Michigan
Nzingha Masani-Manuel, Detroit, Michigan – Community Health worker
Frederick Paper, Ann Arbor MI – Researcher
Gordon V. Smith, Grand Rapids, MI
Gloria La Fleur, Dearborn Heights, MI
Vicki Chessin MD, Alma, MI – Family Physician
Kenneth Schilling, Grand Rapids, MI
Joe Feinstein, W. Bloomfield, MI – Psychologist/retired
Barbara Toshalis, Middleville, MI – Physical Therapist and Social Worker
Stan Kauffman, Pellston, MI – Physical Therapist
Mary Baker, Spring Lake, MI – MSW Hospice
Name: Alison Sutter, Grand Rapids, MI – Sr Sustainability Consultant for Health Care
Bob Clark, St. Joe, MI
Dana Wilcox, Middleville, MI – RN/retired
Susan Stewart, MI – Biology College Professor
Ellen Shoun, Bronson, MI
Ann P. Remkus, Adrian, MI – Retired Teacher
Francine Dolins, Ann Arbor, MI – Psychology, Ph.D.
Thomas Miskovsky, Ann Arbor, MI – M.D.
NM Porter, Ypsilanti, MI – formerly with CHE-Trinity Health
Barry Nathan, MD, Ann Arbor, MI – Physician
Sidney Berkowitz, West Bloomfield, MI – Ph. D. psychologist
Cary Bjork, Marquette, MI – M.D.
Kristen Grierson, Commerce Township, MI – Clinic Service Rep-Henry Ford Health System
Elizabeth Allweiss, Inkster, MI – Social Worker
Robert Wroblewski, Dearborn, MI – Teacher
Roger and Maryjo Erbe, Lansing, MI
Renee Nilan, Ann Arbor, MI – MD
Allan Schwartz, West Bloomfield, MI – DO
Cheryl Farmer M.D., Ypsilanti, MI – M.D.
Name: Kathy Becker, Empire, MI
Harvey Gendler MD, Michigan – MD
Emily Haggerty, East Lansing, MI
Dennis Feichtinger, Trenton, MI – Teamster
Nancy Snell, Kalamazoo, MI
Anne Mates, Ann Arbor, Michigan
David Benjamins MD, Grosse Pointe Woods, MI – MD
Julie, Belleville, MI – Physical Therapist
Art Hanson, Lansing, MI
Natalie Hanson, Lansing, MI
Dave Pettit, Flint, MI – Driver
David Less, DeWitt, MI – Biology Instructor (retired)
Gerald Hasspacher, Warren, MI – Registered Nurse
Hope De Jonge, Conklin, MI – MSN (retired)
Diana Quinn, ND, Ann Arbor, MI – Integrative Medicine
Diane Weckerle, RN, M Ed – Public Health MS and Instructor
Rhonda Anderson Detroit, MI – Sierra Club
Jeff Kingzett – Financial Services


May 7th General Meeting


1st General Meeting of MI Physicians For Social Responsibility – Southeastern Michigan  RSVP today!

One of the steps we are taking to engage Michigan members of PSR as well as other interested health professionals is to host our 1st General meeting for PSR-MI May 7th, 7-9pm.

This was an idea that was presented to me by PSR member Dr. Cheryl Farmer of Ypsilanti MI. The aim of the meeting is threefold, to bring folks together, to learn about the PSR-MI initiatives, and todvonch help guide PSR-MI’s future work. We are also excited that the meeting will also include a presentation on “Health Effects of Air Pollution – Airborne Particulate Matter and Ozone” from Timothy Dvonch, PhD from University of Michigan.

In Michigan we find ourselves at a critical time where the voices of health professionals can have great impact. With PSR in Michigan we will be able to raise awareness of the importance of a health perspective as Michigan’s Clean Energy plan renewal grows closer, as the new EPA Carbon Rules emerge and as Climate Change grows of greater concern for its impact on the health in odoctor-treating-childur communities.

We will actively support solutions through renewable resources and energy efficiency because of their positive health impacts and highlight negative health consequences of coal and fossil fuels. There is an important role that health professionals can play, you are needed.

In closing, I want to formally invite you to our 1st General Meeting for Southeastern Michigan. Those that I have had a chance to speak with personally have expressed eagerness for a gathering. We feel this is a true opportunity to get out of our virtual communications, to hear each other, and build camaraderie in southeastern Michigan for PSR-MI.

Again, the meeting will take place on May 7th, 2014 from 7:00pm-9:00pm at Providence Hospital 16001 West Nine Mile Rd in Southfield MI, Conference Room D (near the cafeteria).

Please RSVP by May 5th to or 773.960.3325.