Today, there are thousands of synthetic chemicals used to make our clothing, cosmetics, household products, electronic devices and even our children’s toys. Many of these chemicals help us live longer and more comfortable lives, but some of these highly useful chemicals are also persistent, toxic and dangerous to our health and the environment. For fifty years, the conventional approach to hazardous chemicals has focused on regulation, barriers and protection. In his new book Chemicals without Harm: Policies for a Sustainable World, professor emeritus and author Ken Geiser proposes a different strategy, based on developing and adopting safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals rather than focusing exclusively on controlling them.
Ken Geiser is Professor Emeritus of Work Environment at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Founder and past Codirector of the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, and the author of Materials Matter: Toward a Sustainable Materials Policy. One of the authors of the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act, he was Director of the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute for thirteen years. Ken’s research and writing focus on pollution prevention and cleaner production, toxic chemicals management, international chemicals policy, safer technologies, and green chemistry. As a recognized expert on environmental and occupational health policy, he has served on various advisory committees for the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the United Nations Environment Programme and currently serves on the International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) Executive Committee. His new book Chemicals without Harm: Policies for a Sustainable World was published by the MIT Press in June 2015.