Science & Policy Blog

A Day in the Life at GSP: Veronica Chin

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As Program Associate, Veronica Chin leads GSP’s role in the Foam Furniture Replacement Study. The “Dust Study,” as we call it, replaces old furniture containing flame retardants with new furniture without those chemicals for low-income families in the Bay Area. In collaboration with UC Davis and Biomonitoring California, we are testing the old furniture for chemical content, and measuring levels of flame retardants in house dust over time.…

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Forty years later TSCA gets an overhaul

In June, President Obama signed into law the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (TSCA reform, hereafter), a revision to the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, or TSCA. The amended law removes several roadblocks that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) faced when trying to determine the safety of chemicals in household products. There are significant improvements and some drawbacks concerning the revisions…

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Monitoring chemicals in our environment with wristbands

Whether to show support for a cause or track daily activity, wristbands and tracking bracelets have become a trendy modern accessory. Silicone strips can also be useful chemical monitoring devices. They have long chainlike structures that create channels similar in size to the pores in human cell membranes…

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A Perfect Storm

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The phrase “a perfect storm” has gone from wildly popular to wildly unpopular. Detractors say it should be banned due to overuse. But it’s not banned yet. A perfect storm is “a critical or disastrous situation created by a powerful concurrence of factors.” It’s just the “right” factors leading to just the wrong outcome. High rates of exposure to organohalogen flame retardants can be seen as a perfect storm that’s hitting all of us, but especially children.…

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“Remove the Handle” – Calling on the CPSC to Turn Off the Toxic Pump

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Kim Harley, PhD, is an environmental epidemiologist at the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health, University of California, Berkeley. Through her research, she tracks the sources and causes of disease. She studies how often diseases occur in different groups of people and why, then applies this knowledge to the prevention of further harm, especially to pregnant women and children.…

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Backfire: Unintended Consequences of Flame Retardants

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Combustion scientist, Donald Lucas, started his career doing research at temperatures near absolute zero (−430°F) before working in combustion, where temperatures can exceed 4,500°F. As he says, you can get “burned” by both the very cold and the very hot.

Dr. Lucas received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from UC Berkeley, and is a retired scientist in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His principal areas of research are combustion generated air pollutants, experimental chemical kinetics, and combustion chemistry. I’ll resist the urge to call him “The Boy Who Played with Fire.”…

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The Nature of the Beast

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Miriam Diamond is a professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Toronto, and holds a PhD. in Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry. At her lab, researchers study environmental chemicals, particularly semi-volatile organic compounds, or SVOCs. They ask:

• What are the sources of these chemicals?
• What are their pathways?
• How are humans and ecosystems exposed?…

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