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Theodora Emily Decker (Theo) Colborn

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Theodora Emily Decker (Theo) Colborn Obituary
March 28, 1927 - December 14, 2014 On Sunday December 14, 2014, Theo Colborn died peacefully at her home in Paonia, Colorado, with family by her side. Dr. Colborn was born in Plainfield, New Jersey on March 28th, 1927. She is survived by her beloved children, Harry Colborn (his wife Colleen Colborn), Kristy Colborn, Susan Raymond (her son Randy Raymond and daughter Tess Buckley), and Mark Colborn (his wife Kathryn Born and their two daughters, Sarah and Bailey Colborn). Dr. Colborn's seminal contribution to the world was driving scientific and public awareness of "endocrine disruptors". These are chemicals that in even the most minute doses can compromise health by interfering with the development and functioning of reproductive, immune, neurological, metabolic and other bodily systems, especially when encountered in the womb or early in childhood. Her initial stitching together of this story was chronicled in her 1996 book "Our Stolen Future" (coauthored with Dianne Dumanoski and John Peterson Myers). Characterized as a scientific detective story, the book captivated the public and has now been translated into over 18 languages. Dr. Colborn's scientific work launched relatively late in life. After spending many years as a pharmacist and a sheep rancher while raising her children, she returned to school and received her PhD at the age of 58. Throughout her career, she spoke passionately of the need for a global program of "inner space research" that would receive as much attention and funding as our investigations into outer space. Such a program would address chemicals that can interfere with the delicate endocrine (hormone) system and lead to adverse outcomes such as infertility, male birth defects, various cancers, autism, ADHD, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, diabetes, obesity and immune disorders. In 2003 she launched TEDX, The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to disseminating scientific evidence of endocrine disruption. Dr. Colborn also used TEDX as a base for calling attention to chemical hazards from hydraulic fracturing. TEDX will continue to be a trusted scientific resource, advancing her life's work well into the future. Dr. Colborn served on numerous government and non-profit advisory panels and is widely viewed as a successor to Rachel Carson. Among her many recognitions were four awards in the name of Carson, Japan's Blue Planet Prize (often referred to as the Nobel Prize for environmental issues) and the Swedish Goteborg Prize for the Environment and Sustainability. Time magazine named her a Global Environmental Hero and the U.N. Environment Programme awarded her its Women Leadership in the Environment Award. Theo Colborn will be remembered around the globe for her uncompromising commitment to protecting the health of the earth and those that inhabit it. Her work will be carried on by the hundreds of scientists, activists, and many generations of individuals whose lives she touched. Her impact, at present, is inestimable. More information on her life and career is available at www.tedx.org . No services will be held. Memorial donations may be made to The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX), http://endocrinedisruption.org/donations-and-support, or TEDX, P.O. Box 1407, Paonia, Colorado 81428.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Dec. 18 to Dec. 21, 2014
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