Environmental Health Regulatory Science

My primary focus in this area is on tracking emerging concepts in environmental health science, and on biomonitoring and other community-driven ways of monitoring health effects and exposures to risks. This helps me understand the societal, political, and technical contexts within which green chemistry, nanotechnology, sustainable industry initiatives, and other S&T developments are taking form or play out.

Since the late 1990s, biomonitoring – or measuring chemical levels in human and wildlife body tissues with new biomarkers and throughput technologies – has emerged as a dynamic (but not “new”) source of data for policy and consumer politics. I am interested in the development of methods, institutions, and policies for tracking chemicals and exposures to consumer products and houses through biomonitoring. My colleague Rachel Morello-Frosch has an extensive program on developing biomonitoring as a process of empowering communities and citizens to understand and evaluate their hazards, and to have a real say in how testing occurs.

This area reflects my broader interest in regulatory science. How are environmental health developments mutually shaping regulatory science processes? What is the 21st century nature of regulatory science and “relevant” expertise? How do scientific and technical knowledges intersect with “lay” knowledges? How are environmental health ideas helping change the “civic epistemology” of chemicals? To investigate these questions, and more, I am beginning to collaborate with Rachel and others at ESPM. We are hoping to create a group of researchers at ESPM.

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