UCR Scholar, Advocate of Toxic Substances Policy Reform, Named to State Panel

Carl F. Cranor is appointed to the Scientific Guidance Panel of the California Environmental Contaminant Biomonitoring Program.

Carl F. Cranor

Philosophy professor Carl F. Cranor

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Carl F. Cranor, a distinguished professor of philosophy at the University of California, Riverside and a longtime advocate of reforming policies for regulating exposure to toxic substances, has been appointed to the Scientific Guidance Panel of the California Environmental Contaminant Biomonitoring Program.

The appointment by the state Senate Rules Committee to the nine-member panel is effective immediately. His term ends Jan. 1, 2014. Cranor said he was nominated by the University of California Office of the President and by Davis Baltz, director of the Precautionary Principle Program of Commonweal, a nonprofit health and environmental research institute in Bolinas, Calif., soon after he presented research at a UC Berkeley symposium on flame retardant chemicals and policies in February 2011.

The Scientific Guidance Panel plays a significant role in the California Biomonitoring Program, making recommendations about the program’s design and implementation — including the identification of chemicals that are a priority for monitoring in California — and providing scientific peer review. Five members are appointed by the governor, two by the speaker of the Assembly, and two by the Senate Rules Committee.

Established by Senate Bill 1379 in 2006, the California Biomonitoring Program is a collaborative effort of three departments in two state agencies: the California Department of Public Health in the Health and Human Services Agency, and the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and Department of Toxic Substances Control in the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Cranor, who has a law degree from Yale University and a Ph.D. in philosophy from UCLA, said that his expertise on the risks posed by contaminants to children and adults and on reforms he believes are needed in government regulatory policies will add to the committee’s efforts to better protect Californians from toxic substances.

“This is important to me,” he said of his appointment. “It is a way of serving the larger community and articulating what I’ve learned from research that perhaps will help identify more toxicants that contaminate Californians and over time reduce toxic exposures.”

Cranor has served on state science advisory panels for Proposition 65, which requires the state to publish an annual list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive health problems; the Electric and Magnetic Fields Program; and nanotechnology.

He is the author of “Legally Poisoned: How the Law Puts Us at Risk from Toxicants” (2011); “Regulating Toxic Substances: A Philosophy of Science and the Law: (1993); and “Toxic Torts: Science, Law and the Possibility of Justice” (2006); and is co-author of a report for the Office of Technology Assessment, “Identifying and Regulating Carcinogens” (1987), and a study by an Institute of Medicine committee, “Valuing Health: Cost Effectiveness Analysis for Regulation: (2006). His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the University of California Toxic Substances Research and Teaching Program.

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Carl F. Cranor
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