I recently had the opportunity to sit face to face with one of the world’s leading environmental scientists in Washington, DC. Richard Denison’s PhD in molecular biophysics and biochemistry is from Yale, and he’s spent 27 years making science relevant to people’s lives. Denison serves as a Senior Scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, frequently testifying before Congress about topics of the day, and serving on the Board of Environmental Studies and Toxicology of the National Academy of Sciences. Since the EDF is a founding member of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition, I asked Denison to explain the science behind the Safe Chemicals Act, which would put common sense limits on toxic chemicals. Here’s what we discussed during my visit for the National Stroller Brigade:
Q: Why should every family care about this; why does this affect every family in America?
A: “Businesses have a right to protect certain types of information. The very secret formula of a product or who their customers are is legitimate propriety information. But health and safety information about chemicals is not. There’s a right to know that information. Because as an individual in the population who might be exposed to that chemical I have a right to know what’s known about it and what isn’t known about it. So that’s where I would draw the line. Certain business information certainly can and should be kept private, but the health and safety information about chemicals needs to be made public.”You can follow Richard Denison’s blog Chemicals and Nanomaterials at the Environmental Defense Fund website for the latest from him and his colleagues on what’s happening in the world of environmental science and your right to know.