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Ecologist Sandra Steingraber Publishes Memoir on Raising Son in Midst of Environmental Threats

ITHACA, NY — In her latest book, “Raising Elijah: Protecting Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis,” Sandra Steingraber speaks as both a scientist and a mother about the joys of bringing up her son while searching for ways to shield him — and all children — from the toxic, climate-threatened world they inhabit. A scholar in residence in the Ithaca College School of Humanities and Sciences, Steingraber is an internationally recognized authority on the environmental links to cancer and human health.

Released on Earth Day, “Raising Elijah” traces the life of the Steingraber’s second child from his birth in the shadow of 9/11 through the threat now posed by the controversial method of drilling for methane gas by hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking.

Each chapter focuses on one of the universals of childhood — laundry, homework, the “big talk” — while exploring such weighty problems as diminished fertility, how chemicals infiltrate mothers’ milk, air quality and neurotoxicology. Throughout, Steingraber demonstrates how closely the intimate world of parenting connects to the public world of policy-making and how the ongoing environmental crisis is, fundamentally, a crisis of family life.

The “New York Journal of Books” praised “Raising Elijah” as “thoroughly informative and entertaining” and “a book that everyone — parents and otherwise — should avail themselves of for the good of those they care about.” “Publishers Weekly” called it “a persuasive, personal call to action.”

A biologist as well as a cancer survivor herself, Steingraber first came to prominence with the 1997 book “Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment,” which led to her being heralded by the Sierra Club as “the new Rachel Carson.” Her second book, “Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood,” was both a memoir of her own pregnancy with her daughter and an investigation of fetal toxicology. The “Library Journal” selected “Having Faith” as a best book of 2001, and it was featured in a PBS documentary by Bill Moyers.

Steingraber has testified before the President’s Cancer Panel and the European Parliament, and has participated in briefings for members of Congress and United Nations delegates. Her honors include the Rachel Carson Leadership Award from Carson’s alma mater, Chatham College; the Hero Award from the Breast Cancer Fund; and the Environmental Health Champion Award from Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles.

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To interview Steingraber or to obtain review copies of “Raising Elijah,” contact Lissa Warren at To schedule a public speaking event for Steingraber, contact Jodi Solomon at