Speaking in the League of Women Voters of Berkeley Albany and Emeryville’s Environmental Concerns Series, Dr. Blum will describe her current work, promoting a new approach to identifying and avoiding use of toxic or dangerous chemicals. She recommends testing or evaluating whole classes of chemicals to identify the most dangerous classes or families and then educating manufacturers, retailers, and consumers about the chemical families that contain many of the hazardous substances commonly found in consumer products.
This approach differs from the current government approach which tests and identifies chemicals one by one, so that very few chemicals of the tens of thousands of chemicals in the market have been tested, limited in use or banned. With information about classes of dangerous chemicals, manufacturers will be able to make better choices of chemicals to use in products and avoid dangerous substitutions. Human and ecological health would be better protected using this approach.
Arlene Blum PhD, biophysical chemist, author, and mountaineer, is the executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute and a Research Associate in Chemistry at UC Berkeley. The Institute brings together business, government, scientists and citizens groups to support chemical policies to protect human health and the global environment. Blum’s research and policy work has contributed to preventing the use of flame retardants and other harmful chemicals in children’s sleepwear, furniture, electronics, and other products world-wide.
Arlene Blum led the first American—and all-women’s—ascent of Annapurna I, one of the most dangerous and difficult of the world’s mountains and the first women’s team to climb Denali. She is the author of Annapurna: A Woman’s Place and Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life.
Blum’s awards include selection by the UK Guardian as one of the world’s 100 most inspiring women and National Women’s History Project selection as one of 100 “Women Taking the Lead to Save Our Planet,” selection as an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, and election to the Hall of Mountaineering Excellence.
Arlene Blum received her PhD in Biophysical chemistry from UC Berkeley and has taught at UC Berkeley, Stanford University, and Wellesley College. The information in this release has been provided by Dr. Blum and drawn from her websites. More information at www.greensciencepolicy.org and www.arleneblum.com.