Agricultural Biotech
Cancer / Genetics
Safe Pregnancy
Critical Habitat
Assessing Risk

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CETOS, a project of the Tides Center, is a non-profit environmental group working on four interrelated issues:

  1. Toxicity from chemical exposures, especially before and immediately after birth.

  2. Deleterious impacts on agriculture and the environment and the genetic alterations of animals and plants, through the intensive application of pesticides.

  3. Loss of endangered species caused by the destruction or contamination of habitat with pesticides and other toxic chemicals.

  4. Protection of the genetic integrity of future generations.

CETOS staff provides public educational information through writing, speaking engagements, and books and acts directly to encourage new policies designed to protect people and natural populations at risk.

CETOS Program Areas

  1. Agricultural Biotech
  2. Genetic Integrity Cancer Protection Project
  3. Safe Pregnancy Project
  4. Critical Habitat Project
  5. Assessing Risk: Proposition 65 Educational Information

Our quarterly newsletter

Our Accomplishments

  • CETOS staff, in partnership with Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATs), completed an opinion paper for the Environmental Protection Agency as part of a consent decree outlining improved methods for protecting endangered species from the exposures to pesticides.
  • CETOS received a grant from the California Endowment to begin a public health campaign concerning reproductive toxins and toxics. This Safe Pregnancy Project is currently centered locally in our Redwood Coast area with plans in 2004 to expand the program to northern California rural areas. The project includes public health handouts, physician training, and community conferences.
  • CETOS launched its Critical Habitat Project. This program will improve the recovery and overall health of California's rare and endangered species by reducing pesticide use and promoting a viable and sustainable agricultural sector. A pesticide inventory for the Gualala River Watershed was completed in August, 2003.
2002 2001
  • CETOS staff worked with local community oriented coalitions to stop the non-consensual spraying of pesticides, i.e. glassy winged sharpshooter.
  • Noah Chalfin, working with Marc Lappé, completed research on all of the major reproductive toxicants and submitted a report to the March of Dimes.
  • CETOS completed a documentary on genetically engineered food crops titled, Against the Grain, The Video. It is available at the Video Project.
  • CETOS staff began the first year of a two year grant under the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund to publish a collection of articles reviewing the ethical and social aspects associated with the conversion of foods to genetically engineered varieties.
  • CETOS staff conducted research on genetically altered soybeans. The resulting article, principally authored CETOS Director, Dr. Marc Lappé, was peer-reviewed and published in The Journal of Medicinal Food (Vol. 1:4,1999, pps. 241-245).
  • Dr. Lappé assisted California Senator Tom Hayden in drafting legislation requiring labeling of GMO-containing food. This California legislation has since served as a template for related labeling initiatives in other states.
  • Dr. Lappé et al published an article on the levels of phytoestrogens in Roundup Ready soybeans versus their conventional counterparts.
1998 1997
  • CETOS successfully initiated a campaign (later joined by many other environmental groups) to ask the California Department of Transportation to cease and desist the application of herbicides along North Coast highways, particularly scenic Highway 1.

Professional Activities

  • Marc Lappé taught Science at the local Charter School and a class on Ethics and Science at the College of Marin. The latter class was directed at educating a new generation about the values implicit in the conduct of science.

  • CETOS staff consults with public interest and environmental law firms on cases involved in assisting individuals persons and communities exposed to toxics. Our activities include conducting risk assessments, drafting scientific protocols, and providing reports.


Marc Lappé
Marc Alan Lappé
1943 - 2005
Marc Lappé, Ph.D., Executive Director
Program Director: Genetic Integrity Cancer Protection Project

Marc spearheaded numerous campaigns to regulate or control toxic substances and is widely regarded as an environmentalist and non-fiction writer.

He wrote the first book to urge restraint on the over-use of antibiotics (Germs That Won't Die, Doubleday/Anchor, New York, 1978). He has since authored or co-authored 13 books and 120 articles or chapters on ethics, genetics, immunology and the environment, including Chemical Deception and Evolutionary Medicine (Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, 1993 & 1995); The Tao of Immunology (Plenum, New York, 1997); and The Body's Edge (Henry Holt, New York).

He holds a doctorate in experimental pathology from the University of Pennsylvania. His training includes a five year stint at the nation's first bioethics institute, the Hastings Center, where he is a Fellow. In 1982, he received a four-year National Science Foundation/National Endowment for the Humanities Award.

He has directed the State of California's Hazard Evaluation System, the Office of Planning & Evaluation and the Office of Health Law and Values. His teaching includes stints at the State University of New York, the University of California at Berkeley, Sarah Lawrence College, Northwestern University and the University of Illinois College of Medicine where he held a tenured Professorship of Health Policy and Ethics (1986-1993). He taught a course in Science and Ethics at the College of Marin.

Britt Bailey, M.A.
Britt Bailey was employed at CETOS from 1996-2004. In March 2004, she left as Co-Director of CETOS to form a non profit environmental organization, Environmental Commons.

Britt holds a Masters degree in Environmental Policy with a particular emphasis on the policies and regulations pertaining to new technologies.

She has researched and written on a number of key land-use and pollution based issues associated with the misuse of herbicides and intensified farming and timber operations. She co-authored Against the Grain: Biotechnology and the Corporate Takeover of Your Food (Common Courage Press, 1998), is the producer of Against the Grain: The Video (The Video Project,1999), and is the senior editor of Engineering the Farm: The Social and Ethical Aspects of Agricultural Biotechnology (Island Press, 2002).

Noah Chalfin, B.A., Senior Associate
Noah Chalfin is a Senior Research Assistant at CETOS. While completing his B.A. in Human Biology with a focus on Environmental Policy (and a minor in Public Policy), Noah spent three years as a research intern at CETOS. He has been a full-time staff member since January 2001.

During his tenure at CETOS, he has worked primarily in CETOS' toxics program - researching environmental health hazards. During 2001, one of his major roles was the development of a prioritization scheme for reproductive and developmental hazards under a March of Dimes project grant.

He has also been involved in CETOS work related to chemical use in forestry, several hazard assessments of environmental contamination from commercial facilities, and numerous health risk evaluations of Proposition 65 listed carcinogens and reproductive toxicants found in fish, herbal supplements, home and garden items, and other consumer products.