LA Times: How I Made It: Arlene Blum


The Gig: Arlene Blum is a California scientist, educator, author and an international mountain climber. Her work has helped eliminate dangerous fire retardants from children’s pajamas and foam furniture.

She has a doctorate in biophysical chemistry from UC Berkeley and she runs a research and educational institute in Berkeley that provided much of the data that persuaded policy makers to revise state fire regulations to reduce the need to infuse cushions with toxic chemicals.

Blum, 69, of Berkeley also is a renowned — but mostly retired — alpinist. In 1978, she led the first American climbing expedition aiming for the summit of one of the world’s most difficult and dangerous peaks, Annapurna I in the Himalayan mountains of Nepal.

Marc Lifsher