Support Tamara's Lead (Pb) Advocacy
Tamara Rubin is a multi-award winning independent activist for childhood lead poisoning prevention and a consumer goods toxicity watchdog. She has authored, testified for and otherwise supported legislative initiatives (both national, state-wide and local/city focused) designed to protect children from being poisoned by legacy lead paint disturbed in home renovations or poisoned by lead in water generated by systemic water fluoridation. She was also a key whistleblower exposing the administrative coverup of the issue of lead-in-water in the Portland Public School District (Portland, Oregon).
Over the past 13 years since her children were acutely lead poisoned she has personally helped thousands of families protect their children from being exposed to lead. Every day she answers questions from parents concerned about lead in their homes when they could not otherwise find answers. She has more than 18,400 followers on her LeadSafeMama Facebook page , and more than 5,100 members in her public Facebook group "The Lead (Pb) Group". She also runs a "secret" group with nearly 700 families of lead poisoned children. She volunteers much of her time to guide parents (around the country and the world) navigating the traumatic experience that is the aftermath of their child's poisoning. With the help of an XRF instrument (which she is trained and certified in using) she also personally tests for lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium in consumer goods and reports the results on her blog. She currently has more than 1,000 blog posts with consumer goods toxicity test results , and has personally discovered unsafe levels of lead in newly manufactured baby bottles , cookware , toys (including fidget spinners ) and more in the past two years.
Since March of 2016 (shortly after her presentation with Bernie Sanders in Flint, Michigan) her advocacy work has been under attack by both corporate interests and public agency employees attempting to shut her down. She needs help covering costs incurred as a result of these attacks, including legal fees to pay for the efforts to defend her against much larger and better funded interests. She is not affiliated with any nonprofit or company, so she is otherwise currently self-funding this important work.
Your contribution here on GoFundMe will help with the following things:
1) Creating a legal defense fund to help support Tamara's ability to continue her important work. [Current outstanding legal bills for her attorney team is $60,000+ .] NOTE: Since this campaign started, no fewer than four companies (of children's products and "green"/"safe" kitchenware/cookware) have threatened Tamara personally with legal action because she has found lead in their recently produced products, many of which are being marketed and sold as "lead-free" !
2) Covering other basic expenses to help make it possible for her to continue the momentum of her advocacy work during what is otherwise a very difficult time for her family.
3) Once the legal fees are covered, eventually chipping in with the cost of purchasing an XRF to be used to help other families!
Your contribution will also be a show of support to the world – so even if you can only give $5 or $10 and sign your name to this campaign (with a comment!), it will make a big difference!
I'm not offering any rewards or incentives with this campaign, other than a giant heartfelt Thank You, a shout-out on social media & a chat by phone (if you like!), but I promise to keep in touch with each of you and look forward to collaborating with you in support of outreach events and efforts in your communities in the future. I need your help now more than ever. Getting support now is crucial for my advocacy work to continue. Several battles have been won but the war is not yet over.
Video below is just a minute of assembled news footage from Tamara's presentation with Bernie Sanders in Flint, Michigan in February of 2016.
Story Updated July 20, 2018
I cannot say "Thank You" enough!
I did want to acknowledge that I am not posting here [on GoFundMe] much because I figure most of you are following me on Facebook or are on my mailing list and I don't want to inundate you with the same updates over and over again! If you are not on my mailing list, you can sign up for it on my blog (there are about 2,300 subscribers there now), and my main Facebook page has more than 16,000 followers now too!
I also wanted to share that while I cannot currently afford to send you all holiday cards in thanks, I am instead going to publish one blog post on my website for each donation received from now until the end of the year, and each post will include a public Thank You shout out to a person who donated! [These will be posts with XRF readings and photos of items I have tested, increasing the "database" of information available to help families make decisions about things to keep in their home or get rid of!]
My last update was September 2nd and SO MUCH has happened since then! Here are a few of the highlights:
September 12, 2017
The IRS concluded an extensive/exhaustive audit— in which they determined there was no concern for financial impropriety with the nonprofit I founded.
There were absolutely no taxes, penalties or fines due as a result. I have my amazing tax attorney Leila Vaughan (with Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP - http://www.klehr.com of Philadelphia) to thank for her help with this, as well as the incredibly precise and thorough nonprofit bookkeeping skills of Phyllis Shelton with The Bookkeeping Collaborative (of Portland, Oregon). Some of your support here went to help pay for their services (although I still have about $11,500 of outstanding bills for their services left to cover by the end of the year). Here's a link to the post I shared following this important victory in my advocacy work:
Friday, October 27, 2017
I learned that – in spite of the IRS’ official final determination that there was *no* financial impropriety at the nonprofit I founded in 2011 – the nonprofit has officially been *dissolved* (!!!!!)
Here's the post about that:
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
CBS This Morning featured my work and my Facebook page in a story about lead in fidget spinners, giving us (Carissa and myself) credit for the initial discovery of this hazard, which was later picked up and investigated by USPIRG. As a result of this story my work went viral (again!, 3rd time this year!) Here's the link to that story (the video is just three minutes and worth watching!) It was the first official National TV mention of #LeadSafeMama!:
Friday, November 10, 2017
My attorney team submitted approximately 2,300 pages of documentation to the DOJ. This is all of the documentation that the IRS used to determine that there was no financial impropriety.
Monday, November 13, 2017
[We just learned about this yesterday 11/28 - see next item] Despite the IRS' findings and determination, a representative with the DOJ served as a primary witness on the filing of an indictment with the state alleging criminal charges against me personally (that's right, even though the IRS spent months examining all my financial records - going all the way back to the founding of the organization - with a fine tooth comb and throughly cleared me of any wrongdoing!)
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Two Sheriff's deputies showed up unannounced at my home and informed me in my kitchen (in front of my nine year old son) that I was under arrest for "Felony Theft 1". When asked, they said they did not know what the specifics of the charges were (what I was being accused of stealing) and they did not know who was bringing the charges. There was no prior communication or advance notice of this. They handcuffed me in front of my house and hauled me off to jail! That was interesting! I have never been arrested before; never been handcuffed before; never set foot in a jail before! (You can see more about what happened yesterday in some posts on Facebook, including videos and photos - including my mug shot! [Never had a mug shot before - lots of "firsts"!] )
Bail was initially set at $45,000.00! That was later dropped; I was released yesterday evening with no bail required.
Wednesday, 11/29, 2017 (Today)
This morning I appeared in court (with my new attorney Celia who will work to demonstrate my innocence of this new [yet another] set of false charges) for an arraignment (yep - first one of those I've been to as well) and we entered a "not guilty" plea!
More to come in the ongoing saga of everyone and their brother trying to shut down my advocacy work.....
Current fundraising goal: To raise a total of $5,000 more to pay the retainer for this new attorney! (as well as the other legal fees due noted above). When my "total raised" (here on this GoFundMe campaign) equals $14,271, I will have raised enough to cover this new legal retainer. [As of the moment of this posting, $4,455 still to go to reach that goal!]
Again, thank you all for your support. As you can imagine, this has been a very difficult time for me (and for my husband — and especially for our children), but I know the facts, have faith in the power of truth, and in my attorneys and that Justice will prevail! Unfortunately, as with all things in our strangely transfigured country at the moment, there is a *price tag* associated with Justice.
As always, please let me know if you have ANY questions and I will answer them to the best of my abilities. Thank you for reading.
Photo attached is my son Charlie today next to a "scales of justice" bike rack (here in Portland), after my meeting with my new attorney.
Thank You, to each of you for supporting my advocacy work.
I continue (just as I have for the past 10+ years) to field calls, texts, e-mails and Facebook messages from families of lead poisoned children every single day (usually 10 to 15 families a day or more) on a volunteer basis.
With your support, I have also continued to do low-cost consumer goods testing for families, and I am also continuing to fight for my film (that’s its own long story!) - and hopefully it will see the light of day (and the darkness of theaters!) soon!
Each donation that comes in - even $5 - makes a difference! As of right now, this campaign has raised $7,343 from 212 people over the course of the 6 months since it was launched!
My goal is still $40,000 (+) and I am soliciting ideas and input on how to get there, so please let me know if you have a brilliant idea that you might want to help me orchestrate!
Right now my legal fees (and other costs related to defending and supporting my advocacy in this arena) are at about $20,000. I am also behind in my mortgage and other basics as I have had to divert all of my resources to my legal team. Given I have not been able to raise the amount I need in donations, I would love to know if anyone on this list either:
1) wants to hire me as a consultant for projects (a few companies - including legal firms - have already taken me up on that, which has been super helpful!) or
2) is in a position to loan me funds to get through this phase of things [I will be able to repay any and all loans out of funds received from the sale of my mother's farm (but there is not yet a time-line on that) OR out of consulting income (and income from speaking engagements) as I generate it — which I am starting to do again! ]
Please e-mail me with ideas: TamaraRubin@mac.com - I'd hate to lose the battle when we are so close to the end... so close to winning the war!
Given this GoFundMe has been up for 6 months, I am also going to archive the original text by pasting it here (below) and will be revising the main text and story for the page shortly. Thanks again, all of you, for everything!
Tamara needs help covering costs incurred from her lead poisoning prevention advocacy work. She is not affiliated with any organization, so is otherwise currently self-funding this important work educating parents everywhere about childhood lead exposure.
Note: Contributions are not tax-deductible.
Your contribution will help with:
• Chipping in with the costs of purchasing a new XRF to be used to help other families! [Right now Tamara - in a collaborative effort with other mothers around the country - is renting an XRF for a week each month (or so) to test consumer goods and soil samples.][Approximate cost, $25,000 to $50,000 depending on which model we can find & if we can find one used!]
• Creating a legal defense fund to help support her ability to continue her important work. [Current legal bill for her attorney team (3 lawyers either volunteering or working at a reduced rate, plus many other volunteer lawyer friends chiming in on various questions!) $6,100. Anticipated legal fees in the coming months will be about $20,000 more.]
• Covering other basic expenses to help make it possible for her continue the momentum of her advocacy work during what is otherwise a very difficult time. [Let's just say the basics are not being covered right now, with funds being diverted to advocacy activities and attorneys to keep the momentum going!]
• And possibly... funds permitting... sending Tamara (and other mothers of lead-poisoned children and a film crew!) to the International Lead Conference [the industry’s unabashed celebration of the professional opportunities that abound for mining, refining, manufacturing and selling neurotoxic lead — with a special emphasis on aggressively expanding the industry - through more effective marketing & promotion] in Germany in June. [Oh my – that promises to be interesting, especially if we can capture some of it on film!] [This would be about $10,000 for two or three moms to go, with all costs covered.]
Your contribution will also be a show of support to the world, so even if you can only give $5 or $10 and sign your name to this campaign (with a comment!), it will make a big difference!
I'm not offering any rewards or incentives with this campaign, other than a Thank You postcard and a shout-out on social media (and a chat by phone if you like!), but I will keep in touch with each of you and look forward to collaborating with you in support of outreach events and efforts in your communities in the future.
I need your help now more than ever. Getting support over the next four months is crucial for my advocacy work to continue.
Unexpected Lead Expert
Mother of Four Boys
The video here is just a minute of a draft of recently assembled news footage from Tamara's presentation with Bernie Sanders in Flint, Michigan in February of 2016.
I hope you are having a terrific summer!
I truly cannot express in words how grateful I am for your ongoing support.
This week the amount raised via this GoFundMe campaign passed the $6,000 mark [as of right now, 179 people have donated a total of $6,046 in support of my advocacy work on GoFundMe]!
Recently (about a week ago), yet another company threatened legal action against me because of a blog post I wrote (in which I reported that I found high levels of lead levels in a product that they manufacture and sell — and specifically market as “lead free” very prominently in their promotional materials online.) While the lead in the product may or may not cause harm to the user of the product (that is not something I am making specific claims about) it is a piece of cookware that has one component that is very high lead [14,900 ppm lead — as confirmed with a precision X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometer designed, optimized and calibrated specifically for testing consumer goods — including these kids of coatings and substrates], and the minimal action taken by this company should be to immediately stop marketing it as lead-free.
Instead, the company has unfortunately taken the “low road” to some degree, arguing with me about whether or not the product has passed leach testing (which literally has nothing to do with the fact that it is positive for high levels of lead!) It’s challenging. I have been communicating with the manufacturer fairly regularly since reporting on this finding — and he has also personally commented quite a bit on my blog post about the product. You can read more about that here: http://tamararubin.com/2017/06/mercola_pan/
Threats like these are less important than the larger legal challenges I am dealing with, and I actually welcome a heated discourse like the one happening with this manufacturer… because it is unquestionable that there is lead in his product, and (with this – as with all of these legal matters) I have done nothing to slander, encourage anyone to boycott or otherwise pressure the manufacturer or taken or advocated any other sort of extreme or provocative position, nor have I misstated any facts or disseminated any misleading information or tried to sensationalize my findings. He actually “threatened” to “share about my work with his 600,000+ followers” and I was like, um, okay - “bring it on”! :-). Wouldn’t it be fun to have 600,000 more people aware of my independent consumer goods watch dog advocacy work!?
In other news…
Over the course of my advocacy work (of nearly twelve years now since my children were poisoned), I have frequently been approached by parents who want advice or “coaching” on how to broach their concerns for childhood lead poisoning and environmental toxicity in general with members of their community (and especially with members of their family!) who may not be so receptive to the discussion initially.
In response to this challenge, I decided to create a solution that is both fun and informative – and will help “ice-break” these conversations! As a result I launched a very short and smallish Kickstarter project about two weeks ago to help get a new book published — my very first book! It’s a fun, irreverent coffee table book about lead in consumer goods… a book full of beautiful photos of vintage Americana – with subtle captions indicating the levels of toxicants found in each of the items pictured (as tested with an XRF instrument.)
The idea behind the book is that people visiting your home will pick it up to look at the beautiful pictures (of things they remember from their childhood!) and then when they start to read the content (which I expect in most cases will shock and surprise them) it will be an immediate conversation-starter for families.
The Kickstarter for the project reached 100% funded last weekend (just a little over a week after it was launched) and still has seven days left to go; it is currently 109% funded!
My “stretch goal” challenge is to reach 200% funded by the end of the Kickstarter project — and if that goal is reached, I will then be able to cover the cost of printing one extra book for each book pre-ordered through Kickstarter, and will gift those extra books to low-income families of lead poisoned children.
Here’s the link to the project on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/auntietammy/i-make-women-cry-and-throw-out-their-shit-by-tamar
& here’s the link to a post about it on my blog: http://tamararubin.com/2017/07/newbook/
& here’s a link to the new Facebook page I created for the book: https://www.facebook.com/WomenCry/
Please note: Funding for the project at the current level is not a money maker for me at all (it will only cover the cost of printing the books), but it will allow me the opportunity to create the limited-edition first printing of the book, which I then intend to share with publishers to see if they might be interested in picking it up for wider distribution!
While the final book will likely be between 80 and 100 pages, to provide a sense of how it will look, I created a single 20-page demo version of the book (with some stock images of items similar to those I plan on photographing and testing for the actual book) and that demo/prototype book is pictured here and in the Kickstarter campaign!
In these last seven days of the Kickstarter project, please consider sharing it with your friends and family to help me reach my stretch-goal for the project! Also if you own a business and would like logo recognition or would like to have your website listed in every copy of the book (or just want to dedicate a page to a friend or family member), there are sponsorship opportunities on Kickstarter for that as well, so please do check out each of the sponsorship opportunities!
Thank you again, to each and every one of you for supporting my work.
Thank you especially to those who have made public comments on this campaign; those comments mean so much to me on days when I feel truly overwhelmed by everything that has gone on over the past year!
While I am still trying to raise an additional $10,000 towards the retainer for a (great-fit, appropriately specialized, fully-vetted) local firm to round-out my legal defensive line-up, with that addition, I think we are close to the end of what has been a very long and complicated journey since I went out on my own as an independent advocate last August, and I am anticipating positive outcomes all around.
As always, please let me know if there is anything I can do for you… and thank you so much for your ongoing support.
Tamara Elise Rubin
Environmental Activist & Filmmaker
Mother of Four Sons “Unexpected Lead Expert”
(If you need to ever urgently reach me in person, texting me is always best: 415-609-3182.)
P.S., One more simple way you can help (at no extra cost to you!) If you want to support my work by shopping on Amazon as you normally do... please start your Amazon shopping by clicking on the following link! Thank you! http://tamararubin.com/2017/07/july_amazon/
I'm sending this out as an end-of-month thank you note (and update!) to all of you who have helped me since February! I still have some major challenges to overcome in defense of my advocacy & I truly appreciate every single penny donated and every wonderful comment here on this campaign. Thank you!
Here's a post on my blog today with a "Thank You" note to all of you: http://tamararubin.com/2017/04/gofundthanks/
Here's a post I also sent out to my newsletter subscribers yesterday with my ten most popular posts this month (there have been more than 25,500 unique visits to my site this month):
... and here's a post with a link to my new advocacy goals and some unexpected information about the international reach of my advocacy work (I was really surprised to see Singapore in my "top 4 cities reached"... and that Portland, Oregon was only #5!): http://us14.campaign-archive1.com/?u=7872f72663c7bcc4ea0f8c52b&id=a0785e22a7
This newsletter also includes the new Portland Public School Bond promotional materials (with a focus on lead hazard remediation) which many of you might find interesting.... the bond addresses some of what I have been advocating for since 2007 (in terms of lead hazard remediation in the Portland Public Schools.)
Thanks again everyone!
The coming month (May 2017) promises to be especially challenging in many ways, so if you have any friends you can ask to join you in supporting my work, I would truly appreciate it!
& as always, please let me know if there is anything I can do for you! [I have been trying to get caught up on responding to all the recent questions I have received via e-mail, so please do give me a nudge if you don't hear from me with a response by the end of the day tomorrow!]
Mother of Four Sons
"Unexpected Lead Expert"
All 3 of my kids were found to be Lead poisoned back in 2010 in Johnson City, TN - my youngest tested the highest at age 6. Because of my children's ages, no one would help us. Our pediatrician was great for getting our kids tested, because the local health department wanted nothing to do with us. Having grown up myself in San Diego, I knew that Lead was bad, I just had no idea HOW bad. I had no idea what to do, or where to turn, or how to help my kids. Then I got the first call from Tamara Rubin. That phone call changed my life. She sent us test kits, and gave me valuable information to help detox my kids. She answered my questions, and guided me in every wayshe possibly could. Because of her wisdom and her assistance, my kids are now Lead free. We were able to move out of our toxic rental home, and because of Tamaras's persistance with the EPA, our landlord was fined and forced to tear down the toxic home, so no other children would ever have to suffer the way my kids did/do. I would have been completely lost without her guidance. She is a wonderful, caring person, who turned her personal Lead experience into something positive. Were it not for her drive, her fight, and her advocacy, I honestly do NOT know whtoday.and my kids would be today.
My son was diagnosed with elevated lead in 2013 in Cleveland, OH thanks to Tamara Rubin we were able to work quickly to protect our infant and my family from further exposure. She does a great job of advocating for the dangers of lead, where to find lead exposure in common household items, and how to get support in your local community. Her direct work with my family & her community outreach facebook groups directly impacted another 3,000 families in NEO. Hundreds of families were encouraged to get their infants lead screened at their annual pediatric appointments, they were educated on possible concerns for lead exposure through paint, dust, and household items. Dozens of families were able to prevent further lead exposure for their families because of the resources and education Tamara Rubin has made available... and we will forever be thankful!!! We love you and your family Tamara Rubin!
Tamara has helped dozens of families affected by lead poisoning like mine more quickly and effectively than anyone in America. The world need Tamara to be fully supported to continue her work, at greater and greater levels - there are so many other children and adults that are being affected now or will be affected. Lead poisoning is preventable and it is time for Tamara and anyone working alongside her to be able to educate and assist before its too late. Lead poisoning is not only an environmental disaster, its an irreversible impact when not prevented on our society. The future of our country is our children and we cannot afford to impact them in this way.
Tamara is the only person that has enlightened me as to the dangers of lead and provided me with information about the possibility of lead in my environment. I would never have thought about the windows and trim in my 1920's house being coated with lead paint if it wasn't for her. She has helped to keep my three year old and the rest of my family safe.
I paid attention to so many other toxins and was vigilant about keeping our home safe. It wasn't until I stumbled upon the page on Facebook that I was even aware lead was something I needed to look for as well! So glad to have a resource to help me make sure my home is safe
After I started following Tamara's work, I gave away all of my family's dishes and switched to plain white ones from IKEA. I also gave away the teacups and saucers that I loved. I did keep a couple to have her test when I am able to have her over for a Healthy Home Visit. Thank you, Tamara, for doing this important work so that we might be educated and able to make informed decisions to keep our families safe / safer.
Your amazing work has made me more conscious of the unsafe levels of lead in household items. It has helped me in purchasing new, safe items & throwing out old ones. My most important lead safe purchase was stainless steal water bottle, that we use everyday. So glad to know they're safe! Thank you for you work!
Tamara helped us to figure out what was poisoning our son when the state came in and said our house was in "Good shape" and if I just "kept up the good work" our son would be fine. After his levels continued to rise the state called and told us they were closin his case. Tamara took time out of her life to talk to me on the phone and walk me thru what we had to do to help our son. If it weren't for her and her advocacy work who knows where we would be right now! ❤ I couldn't thank her enough!!
Before I came across your page, lead poisoning was not on my radar. I had no idea lead was STILL so prevalent in common household items. Thanks to your work, it is now something I consider in my decision making when choosing dishes, cookware and so much more!