Alaskans are particularly vulnerable to exposure to chemicals in products found in our homes, schools and offices because our cold climate causes us to spend more time indoors. CHE-Alaska hosted a discussion of how toxic chemicals in everyday products pollute our indoor environments and end up in our bodies.
Dr. Veena Singla, a scientist with Natural Resources Defense Council, highlighted chemicals of concern and discussed how chemicals move from products into people. Sarah Doll, National Director at Safer States talked about how our current chemicals policy fails to protect public health and how states are taking the lead in passing their own protective laws. We also discussed the growing problem of “regrettable substitution”—the replacement of a toxic chemical with one that has unknown—if not greater—toxic effects. Alaska’s Toxic-Free Children’s Act (SB111/HB199), provided an update on a bill being considered by the Alaska State Legislature that would ban ten toxic flame retardants in children’s products and furniture.
Dr. Veena Singla is a scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) health and environment program. She works on creating healthier indoor and outdoor spaces by reducing and eliminating the use of toxic chemicals, especially those that pose hazards to vulnerable populations such as workers, pregnant women and young children. Current projects include research and policy initiatives on agricultural pesticides and chemicals of concern in consumer products. She leads work on groundbreaking policies which attempt to establish frameworks for safer chemical evaluation and substitution. Other areas of focus include indoor environmental quality and how exposure to multiple chemicals affects health outcomes. Prior to NRDC, she worked primarily on flame retardant chemicals as a senior scientist with the Green Science Policy Institute. Dr. Singla received her doctorate in cell biology from the University of California, San Francisco and her bachelor of science in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.
Sarah Doll is the National Director for Safer States, a campaign composed of state-based organizations successfully championing policy and market solutions to protect public health and communities from toxic chemicals. She is also the Healthy Babies Bright Futures Bright Choices Program Director and currently manages over 26 partners engaged in the coordinated campaign to eliminate the unnecessary use of toxic flame retardants. Prior to joining Safer States, Sarah was the environmental health program director at the Oregon Environmental Council. She has also worked on Capitol Hill for John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), run electoral campaigns, and managed transportation projects for the City of Portland. Sarah is also the mother of a very active seven year old.
Pamela K. Miller, executive director, Alaska Community Action on Toxics.