Advocate of Reforming Toxicant Exposure Regulation to Lecture June 2

Carl Cranor, known globally for his research on toxins, public health, and the law, will present 65th Faculty Research Lecture

carl cranor

Carl F. Cranor will deliver the 65th Faculty Research Lecture on June 2.

RIVERSIDE, California – Carl F. Cranor, distinguished professor of philosophy at the University of California, Riverside and a longtime advocate of reforming policies for regulating exposure to toxic substances, will deliver the 65th Faculty Research Lecture on Friday, June 2. His topic is “The Law’s Contribution to a Lifetime Arc of Good Health.”

The lecture begins at 3:30 p.m. in the Genomics Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. Parking permits may be obtained at the kiosk on West Campus Drive at the University Avenue entrance to the campus.

The Faculty Research Lecturer Award is the highest honor that the Riverside Division of the Academic Senate bestows. The Senate Committee on Faculty Research Lecturer selected Cranor “for his demonstrated brilliance in Philosophy of Law and Science,” noting his global recognition for research regarding toxins and public health and his impact on the American legal system.

Cranor’s work has changed how scientific testimony is addressed in court cases and was cited in a pivotal federal Appeals Court ruling in 2011. He was reappointed in January to the Scientific Guidance Panel of the California Environmental Contaminant Biomonitoring Program, and 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 earned a law degree from Yale University and a Ph.D. in philosophy from UCLA.

The philosopher, who also is a faculty member in the UCR Environmental Toxicology Graduate Program, has published more than 80 papers and several books and monographs, among them “Toxic Torts: Science, Law and the Possibility of Justice” (Cambridge University Press 2006, second edition 2016) and “Legally Poisoned: How the Law Puts Us at Risk from Toxicants (Harvard University Press, 2011).

His most recent book, “Tragic Failures: How and Why We are Harmed by Toxic Chemicals” (Oxford University Press, 2017), is based on a series of lectures the philosopher delivered at UCR when he was awarded the prestigious Romanell-Phi Beta Kappa Professorship in Philosophy for 2014-15. The national award is presented to one philosopher every year by the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the oldest and most widely known academic honor society in the United States. He is the third University of California philosopher to receive this award since its inception in 1989.

“Tragic Failures” explains the origins of federal regulation of toxic substances; why only drugs, pesticides, and food additives are tested before going to market; and how the legal system – which offers the only recourse for deaths or injuries resulting from toxic exposures – often fails to properly use science to identify and assess whether or not products are toxic. The book also suggests how we could be better protected from tens of thousands of toxic chemicals, some of which are so pervasive that they inhabit the bodies of virtually every American.

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