PRHE’s Director, Dr. Tracey Woodruff, testified before Congress on Oct 18, 2023 at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing and Critical Materials on EPA's efforts to regulate ethylene oxide (EtO). She was one of four witnesses at the hearing; two were CEOs of the country's largest chemical companies and … Continue reading Tracey J. Woodruff testifies before Congress
PRHE’s success and effectiveness is not just due to our scientists, but also because we have a team that includes the best in making organizations be their best. Meet members of our Operations Team who work behind the scenes to support and grow our mission: Alana D’Aleo provides general operating support to PRHE and is … Continue reading Keeping PRHE running smoothly
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is currently developing a critical update to its guidance on analysis of benefits and costs of federal regulations, known as Circular A-4. This guidance, which hasn’t been revised since it was issued in 2003, can have a major impact on the extent of public health protections in a … Continue reading OMB’s draft Circular A-4 falls short on equity
A couple of years ago I went to a wool and sheep festival where, for the first time, I watched dogs herd sheep. They were so smart and efficient, one dog handled dozens of sheep! Regulatory agencies should take a similar approach: chemicals, as sheep, should be assessed and their risk managed by groups. There … Continue reading It’s time to regulate chemicals as classes
Health risk assessment is the method that regulators use to determine whether chemicals in the environment pose a risk to people’s health and how much exposure to the chemical produces these effects. Unfortunately, current human health risk assessments don’t capture everyone’s risk level. Our recent paper, Application of Probabilistic Methods to Address Variability and Uncertainty … Continue reading Are “safe” exposure levels really “safe”?
When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) evaluates chemical risks, it assumes for the most part that we are all the same. Or, rather, that some of us might be a little bit more sensitive than others. Ten times more sensitive, to be specific. But that’s not exactly true. When it comes to chemicals in … Continue reading With chemicals that can harm you, one size does not fit all
Protecting the public from the most concerning environmental chemicals and contaminants involves many individual steps. For example, when an agency like the US EPA or FDA evaluates a chemical used in consumer products, they want to evaluate: the hazards associated with that chemical, how that chemical causes harm, how much of the chemical is released … Continue reading The weak link: gaps in exposure assessments
American voters overwhelmingly say they want government and industry to ensure the products they buy are free of harmful chemicals, and they are willing to pay more for it, according to a national online survey commissioned by the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment (PRHE) at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). “At … Continue reading Poll: Voters Agree on Need for More Protections from Chemicals
The emergence of COVID-19 marked a dramatic shift in our lives: quarantine, remote work, and coping with the extraordinary loss of life on a global scale. As environmental health experts, we were also concerned about how increased exposure to cleaning chemicals – and chemicals generally – might impact COVID outcomes. We knew this virus – … Continue reading How do chemical exposures impact COVID?
In the 40 years between enactment of the original Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in 1976 and its 2016 amendments, EPA regulated less than 1% of the existing chemicals on the market. EPA was even unable to ban cancer-causing chemicals like asbestos, part of the reason Congress updated TSCA to make it easier for regulators … Continue reading EPA’s failure to properly implement TSCA puts lives at risk