To become the 'go to' trusted source

    for every pregnant woman and her health provider

    to safeguard a baby's health against toxic chemical exposure.


    SafetyNEST’s vision is simple: we want every pregnant woman to have easy access to clear, credible information to keep your pregnancy and your baby healthy. We provide the support and tools to prevent diseases linked to toxic chemical exposure. We help you make your NEST safe.


    Every day, we are awash in chemicals. There are 85,000 of them surrounding us in everything from our bed mattress to our hand lotion. But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires toxicity testing on just 200. That leaves 99% to do their thing. And evidence increasingly shows that exposure to these chemicals, particularly during vulnerable periods of development, can cause problems from preterm birth, birth defects, childhood asthma and obesity to a range of cancers.


    You might wonder, if this situation is really so bad, why hasn’t my doctor told me, my friends, my sister, my daughter? Turns out, only 1 in 15 doctors has been trained in toxic chemicals, and only 1 in 5 say they talk to you about it. It’s just not top of their list – yet. But, it’s top of ours.


    All the tips and recommendations you find on mySafetyNEST.org come from the most credible research centers in the United States including University of California San Francisco Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment and Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center.


    SafetyNEST was created by Alexandra Destler, a mom of two who was struck by how hard it was to reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals – even in her own home. Interested in learning about more, from Alexandra and the team?


    Download our Executive Summary describing the SafetyNEST vision.


    Alexandra Destler, EdM

    Founder + Executive Director + Mom


    For over two decades, Alexandra has worked to spark swift change in our public health system. Her aim? To promote global sustainability - not in theory but in practice. Rather than preaching to the converted, she brings together public and private organizations, champions and naysayers, leading healthcare, non-profit and Fortune 500 companies, to drive change. She launched the Public Health Institute’s Center for Climate Change and the American Hospital Association’s environmental stewardship initiative; co-developed The Greenfield Path, a communications project driving Ford Motor Company’s move to a more sustainable business; and directed Playworks’s capital campaign, raising a record $27.3 million in two years. Most recently, vexed by a vinyl bathmat leeching chemicals into the bathwater of her baby, she resolved to focus on prenatal environmental education – our lack of which costs the US $340 billion a year, and many children their health. Alexandra holds degrees from Harvard, Cornell and the Sorbonne.

    Anderson Martino Andrade, PhD

    Assistant Professor of Physiology, Universidade Federal do Paraná (Brazil)

    Dr. Andrade is a reproductive toxicologist, who studies the impact of endocrine disrupting chemicals in laboratory animals, with particular focus on reproductive effects following developmental exposures. He received his PhD in Toxicology from the Charité Medical School Berlin (Germany) and has authored several scientific publications on the effects of endocrine disruptors, including pesticides, pharmaceuticals and phthalates. After spending one year at the Department of Preventive Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, he started in 2015 a pilot birth cohort study in Curitiba, Brazil, to investigate the exposure of Brazilian pregnant women to environmental chemicals and the impact of such exposures in newborns.

    Nicole Avena, PhD

    Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City

    Dr. Nicole Avena is a research neuroscientist and expert in the fields of nutrition, diet and addiction. Her seminal research on food addiction has jump started this exciting new field of exploration in medicine and nutrition. Her research achievements have been honored by awards from several groups including the New York Academy of Sciences and the American Psychological Association. Dr. Avena’s most recent book, What to Eat When You’re Pregnant, was released in June, 2015, and it helps women understand how to eat healthy and beat cravings while pregnant. Several recipes from this book are featured in the SafetyNEST minimum viable product. She has appeared on the Dr. Oz Show, Good Day NY, The Couch, Home and Family, The Better Show, as well as many other news programs. Her work has been featured in Bloomberg Business Week, Time Magazine for Kids, The New York Times, Shape, Men’s Health, Details, and many other periodicals. Dr. Avena is a member of the Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau. She has the #2 most watched TED-ED Health talk, How Sugar Affects Your Brain. 



    Michael Carter, PhD

    Designer and Producer Advisor

    Michael is an independent designer and producer specializing in learning solutions based on emerging technology. He will co-lead the research and design elements for SafetyNEST. He currently advises game projects in the US and Europe on, among other things, rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury victims, asthma, anxiety, diet and nutrition, and health care policy. He directed education research in Apple’s advanced technology group; produced Oxford, Stanford and Yale’s online offerings to their alumni; and edited and published research on digital media and learning with the MIT Press. He was a strategic advisor to the Internet Society, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Open Education Resources program, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning initiative, and helped launch

    The International Journal of Learning and Media (ijlm.net).

    Stacie Olivares-Castain, MBA

    Chief Investment Office

     CA Organized Investment Network (COIN)

    California Department of Insurance

    COIN's mission is to guide insurers on making safe and sound investments that yield environmental benefits throughout California and/or social benefits within the State's underserved communities. Stacie has redesigned COIN into an innovative investment program that sources and structures insurer investments that yield competitive financial returns and positive social and/or environmental impacts in California. Annual COIN Qualified Investment holdings have nearly doubled under her tenure, and with her guidance, several new laws have been enacted to enhance the COIN program and related initiatives, including AB 53 (Solorio) that requires insurer reporting on supplier diversity.

    Eliza Lo Chin, MD, MPH

    Executive Director, American Medical Women's Association

    Dr. Eliza Chin is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF. She has been actively involved in AMWA for over a decade, serving as President during AMWA’s 95th Anniversary Year. Working with and collaborating with women physicians leaders is her passion.

    Dr. Chin is a graduate of UC Berkeley, Harvard Medical School, and Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health. She completed her training in Primary Care at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She was Assistant Professor of Medicine at Columbia for many years before relocating to California where she continues to teach medical students and practice medicine part-time. She is a past Visiting Scholar of the Women’s Leadership Institute at Mills College.


    Holly Finn, MBA

    Communications Advisor

    Holly is the former Marvels columnist of The Wall Street Journal, where she wrote about how science and technology are changing us. Prior to that, she headed the editorial team at Google and was the communications director of The Skoll Foundation. Holly got her start in London, as the editor of How To Spend It at the Financial Times, and leader writer at The Times. Today she is a communications advisor in Silicon Valley and the author of one book, so far (The Baby Chase, about fertility and its opposite). Holly holds an MBA from NYU-Stern and a BA from Yale.

    Katie Huffling, RN, MS

    Certified Nurse-Midwife Advisor

    Katie Huffling is a Certified Nurse-Midwife and is an environmental health program manager at the University of Maryland School of Nursing. In her current position Ms. Huffling is coordinating the efforts of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE). In her work with ANHE, Ms. Huffling works with nurses nationwide on a variety of environmental health issues. Ms. Huffling is the author of a number of peer-reviewed articles on environmental health issues as they relate to pregnancy and has developed an assessment tool to assess chemical exposures during pregnancy. She was also a fellow in the 2011 Reach the Decision Makers program at the UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment.

    Kathryn E. Johnson, MS

    Global Health Executive Advisor

    Kathryn served as the CEO of Health Forum for 25 years and retired in 2002. She's the Co-Founder of the Center for Global Service and an active consultant on global health issues. She has served on numerous Boards, including chairing the Boards of the Institute for Research on Learning and the American Society of Association Executives. She is a former W. K Kellogg Foundation Fellow. Currently, Kathryn serves on Boards of the UN’s World Food Program-USA, Global Women’s Leadership Program at Santa Clara University’s Business School, the Health Technology Center, Samueli Institute, Food Commons 2.0, Omni Med, and RENEW. She also serves on advisory boards of: MedShare Western Council, Living Goods, We Care Solar, and Care for Peace.

    Peggy Lauer, WSMA

    Program Director, Marisla Foundation

    Peggy enjoyed striving for over 25 years as a journalist and an environmentalist. Her thesis is on what is missing in both fields: feminine embodied wisdom as a serious source of accurate news and shifting trends. For 12 years she ran the Resource Renewal Institute (RRI) Green Plans Program on sustainable management, leading policy tours to the Netherlands and New Zealand to meet with systems-thinking practitioners. While a visiting lecturer at the University of Auckland, Peggy learned the slow-care values of her midwife, along with Māori and Pasifika mothers-to-be. She led the Fred Gellert Family Foundation’s support of the Funders Forum on Antibiotic Resistance, which inspired her and three philanthropists to launch WELL Network to increase awareness of women’s toxic body burden. Since 2004, she has volunteered with the San Diego Foundation, and keeps a foot in the Bay Area, consulting for RRI and Heyday Books.


    Christine Malcolm, MBA

    Managing Director & West Coast Leader

    Navigant Consulting

    Christine co-leads the Academic Medical Center and Children's Hospital practices in the Healthcare group. With more than 30 years of experience, Christine is a nationally recognized strategic healthcare leader with experience in leading transformational change in some of the leading healthcare systems, children’s hospitals, healthcare technology companies, and academic medical centers in the U.S. She has a distinguished track record in the areas of healthcare leadership most important today – including clinical transformation, accountable care organization development, physician integration and alignment, performance improvement, IT, facilities, service line and clinical program development, mergers and acquisitions, strategy and growth. She is known for her ability to both envision and execute transformational change on behalf of her clients.

    Anne Reynolds Robertson

    Philanthropic Advisor

    Anne Reynolds Robertson is an Environmental Activist, Entrepreneur and mother of four. For the past 25 years she has developed strategies and proposals for generating revenue for non-profit and socially responsible businesses, and chaired major fundraising events, including Arts for Healing and Healthy Child Healthy World. When combined, events she chaired raised over one million dollars. Her personal experience of loss and overall concern for our children’s future has led Anne on a journey of discovery and it is why she has committed her time, resources and talents to unite a coalition of concerned individuals, organizations, businesses and communities to support her cause. She is a relentless advocate of environmentally conscious organizations and serves on the boards of Healthy Child Healthy World, Mt. Sinai's Children's Environmental Health Center, Texas Campaign for the Environment, Sustainable Food Center, American Performing Arts Collaborative, Clean Production Action, and the Louisiana Sustainability Fund. Anne lives in Austin, Texas and is the founder of New Conscious Capital, a Texas Consulting firm focused on achieving a higher quality of life for Texans and people everywhere.

    Kristee Rosendahl

    Business, Brand and Design Strategy

    Kristee pioneered the field of User Experience. Since co-founding The Apple Computer Human Interface Group in 1985, and as a principal designer at the Apple Multimedia Lab in San Francisco, Kristee has been practicing, teaching and speaking about this field for 26 years as one of the first visual designers in technology to help shape the UX practice. As a VP, Director, Creative Director, Art Director, Designer and Project Manager, Kristee has worked across multiple media platforms and across multiple channels to execute a vision. She has also worked with some of the best known companies to generate multiple prototypes that envision the future of digital interactivity. Kristee created some of the first early collaborative, cross-functional, world class teams that have delivered both innovative products and groundbreaking processes for development. Her experience enables her to work with, speak to and connect diverse development disciplines together with a common language, agile processes, and vision. Specialties: Design Strategy, Product Design, Product Development, UX and Creative Direction.

    Shanna H. Swan, PhD

    Vice Chair for Research and Mentoring, 

    Department of Preventive Medicine

    Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital

    Shanna is a professor of Environmental Medicine & Public Health and a professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science at Mount Sinai. Dr. Swan has worked for over twenty-five years to understand the threats posed by chemicals to our environment. Of most concern to Dr. Swan are the chemicals that our bodies can confuse with its own hormones (the “endocrine disrupting” chemicals) and their sexually dimorphic effects on development. At the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Dept of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, Dr. Swan is working with a wide range of collaborators, including epidemiologists, psychologists, biostatisticians, geneticists and systems biologists to conduct studies and develop methods to evaluate the risks from such chemicals. In The Infant Development and the Environment Study (TIDES), Dr Swan and colleagues have been following 800 mothers since early pregnancy and their children (now 4-5 years of age). In TIDES, which is now part of the larger national ECHO study, they are looking at reproductive, neurodevelopmental, pulmonary, and cardiovascular outcomes in relation to prenatal and childhood exposures as TIDES children grow. A list of her publications can be found on the Mount Sinai website.

    Tracey Woodruff, PhD

    Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences

    Philip R Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies UCSF

    Director of the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment


    Tracey has done extensive research and policy development on environmental health issues, with a particular emphasis on early-life development. Her research includes evaluating prenatal exposures to environmental chemicals and related adverse pregnancy outcomes, and characterizing developmental risks. She has authored numerous scientific publications and book chapters, and has been quoted widely in the press. She was appointed by the governor of California in 2012 to the Science Advisory Board of the Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant (DART) Identification Committee.


    SafetyNEST partners are leading research and healthcare institutions

    committed to reproductive environmental health and providing us with

    credible content, expertise, and strategic direction.

    University of California San Francisco 

    San Francisco, CA

    Mount Sinai Children's Environmental Health Center 

    New York, NY

    American Medical Women's Association

    Reston, VA

    Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS)

    MotherToBaby is a bilingual (English/Spanish) service of the international non-profit OTIS and offers the public free, personalized risk information about exposures during pregnancy and breastfeeding via app, text, live chat, email and phone line at 866-626-6847.


    Bolinas, CA

    Universidade Federal do Parana

    Curitiba, Brazil


    SafetyNEST’s fiscal sponsor is Commonweal, a national nonprofit health

    and environmental research institute founded in 1976.


    Our work would not be possible without generous support from

    key friends and supporters. SafetyNEST has received financial and

    in-kind support from these private foundations:

    Lead Foundations

    As You Sow

    The Barbara & Donald Jonas Family Fund

    The Canary Fund of RSF Social Finance

    MMHBO Fund

    The Passport Foundation


    Major Medical Groups Increasingly Warning Of Toxic Chemical Risks To Unborn Babies

    Doctors urged to address environmental exposures, especially with expectant parents.

    Lynne Peeples

    Environment and Public Health Reporter, The Huffington Post


    During her five-and-a-half-year battle with infertility, Julieta Pisani McCarthy bought organic foods and chose personal care products free of synthetic ingredients such as parabens and phthalates. And when she finally did become pregnant with her first son, Nicolas, she continued her diligence, including ridding her home of any furniture foam that might contain chemical flame retardants.



    International Ob-Gyns Group Urges Greater efforts to Prevent Toxic Chemical Exposure

    Reproductive Health Professionals Say Links Between Prenatal Exposure to Chemicals and Poor Health Outcomes are Increasingly Evident

    FIGO Opinion


    The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) opinion on reproductive health impacts of exposure to toxic environmental chemicals is a policy statement by FIGO on preventing exposure to toxic environmental chemicals. FIGO is the leading global voice of reproductive health professionals and its actions have profound resonance. FIGO’s Member Societies include 125 countries/territories, and its groundbreaking policy statement on environmental health was published on October 1, 2015 in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics. 



    Toxic Environmental Agents

    ACOG American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

    Women's Health Care Physicians


    Toxic chemicals in the environment harm our ability to reproduce and negatively affect pregnancies. Many chemicals that pregnant women absorb or ingest from the environment can cross the placenta to the fetus. The scientific evidence over the last 15 years shows that exposure to toxic environmental agents before conception and during pregnancy can have significant and long-lasting effects on reproductive health, as outlined in Committee Opinion #575 Exposure to Toxic Environmental Agents, from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in conjunction with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the University of California, San Francisco Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment.



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    “Exposure to toxic environmental chemicals during pregnancy and breastfeeding is ubiquitous and is a threat to healthy human reproduction....Preventing exposure to environmental chemicals is a priority for reproductive health professionals everywhere.”


    These statements by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), an organization of obstetrical and gynecological associations from 125 countries, advocate that reproductive health professionals make environmental health a routine part of care.


    Few reproductive health care professionals counsel pregnant women about the risks of chemical exposures. They lack the training, tools, and expertise. Further, the current landscape for environmental health counseling is fragmented, disaggregated, and impersonal. There is also an abundance of online environmental information that is fear-based, complex, and, for most pregnant women, difficult to implement. Given this environment, we are missing two opportunities:


    1) To educate pregnant women, particularly those most vulnerable, with simple health-based messaging–– while they are uniquely positioned to make important lifestyle and behavior changes to promote the health of their pregnancy; and


    2) To equip you - health care professionals - with evidence-based tools to counsel patients about reducing exposures to environmental chemicals both in the preconception period and prenatally.


    SafetyNEST will address these critical gaps.  Sign up today to explore the SafetyNEST minimum viable product (MVP) prototype for expectant women.


    Please take our quick Survey and tell us what you need

    to best support your patients’ health


    These evidence-based resources are designed to support healthier pregnancies and babies.


    The Washington State Department of Health has compiled an excellent list of evidence-based resources so you can start the conversation with your patients and help reduce toxic chemical exposures. Learn more!


    Accelerate the adoption and use of products that are safer and healthier from Green Health Exchange, a purchasing cooperative created by Practice Greenhealth, Health Care Without Harm, and leading health systems committed to sustainability.



    Take a look at these brief, yet compelling videos stating the case for OBGyns to take action on toxics:


    Learn more from leading institutions about the need to counsel patients about reducing exposures to environmental chemicals both in the preconception period and prenatally


    The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics FIGO October 2015 Opinion on Reproductive Health Impacts of Exposure to Toxic Environmental Chemicals:


    The Endocrine Society's 2015: Statement on Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals


    The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) 2013 Committee Opinion: Exposure to Toxic Environmental Agents 


    American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) June 2015 Statement on Environmental Toxins


    UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment’s 2008: Shaping Our Legacy: Reproductive Health and the Environment Report and Resources for Health Care Professionals to Promote Environmental Health


    Association of Reproductive Health Professionals 2010: Environmental Impacts on Reproductive Health



    Let's talk. 




    SafetyNEST’s fiscal sponsor is Commonweal, a national nonprofit health

    and environmental research institute founded in 1976.


    by Alexandra Destler, Founder + Executive Director + Mom

    By SafetyNEST Communications Advisor Holly Finn: I'm not sure how I survived without An Uncommon History of Common Courtesy, published six years ago by National Geographic. Did you know traditional Tibetan Buddhists believe “When a child is born, foul spirits are too – and they must be flushed...
    Lead in Lipstick? By Jeanne A. Conry, MD, PhD, FACOG Past President, The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Yes, Lead in Lipstick was my “ah hah” moment about chemical exposures and our health. It was about 2006 and an aide in the California legislature reached out to the...
    SafetyNEST recently launched its minimum viable product (MVP) for feedback from expectant women recruited by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment. The just published report outlines results and recommendations from the June 1 –...
    American Medical Women's Association Partners with SafetyNEST to promote environmental health
    by Alexandra Destler, SafetyNEST Founder + Executive Director + Mom In 1999, wrapping up my Master’s degree at Harvard, I took a class at Harvard Medical School’s Center for Global Health & the Environment. It was in this class writing about the chemical industry that I learned the alarming...
    Mother's Day: UCSF Collaborates with SafetyNEST  By Dr. Tracey Woodruff, Director, UCSF Program on Reproductive Health & the Environment On Mother’s Day, we pamper moms with breakfast in bed. We celebrate all that they do with flowers, chocolate, cards and kisses. Given their long list of...
    Toxic Free Babies. That's what we need! In this powerful New York Times editorial, “Are You a Toxic Waste Disposal Site?”  Nicholas Kristof states: “A starting point of a public health revolution should be to protect infants and fetuses from toxic substances…” I certainly agree! I started...
    SafetyNEST advisor Dr. Tracey Woodruff & New YorkTimes Op-Ed by Nicholas Kristof. Another great piece about the silent epidemic of toxicity that most of us are unaware of, this one by NY Times Nicholas Kristof. He writes... “In the 1950s, researchers were finding that cigarettes caused cancer...
    FIGO statement important call to action. Well, this was a REAL thrill to get interviewed and quoted in this important piece by Lynne Peeples for this exception article and kudos to the 'early adopter' health systems making this issue a priority! This article is responding to a groundbreaking...
    Potential links between chemicals in common household items and damage to developing brains... That should get your attention! This is a powerful and comprehensive COVER STORY that links effects from everyday household chemicals on children's learning and behavior and critical windows of...
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