16 members named to panel to advise on GenX, other emerging chemicals

Cape Fear River
Cape Fear River on June 14, 2017 (Photo: Hannah Patrick/WWAY)

RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — The state has announced who will make up the newly expanded Science Advisory Board, which will examine new and emerging chemicals and their potential impacts to human health and the environment.

The board is made up of 16 experts in toxicology, public health, ecology, engineering and related fields.  New Hanover County’s Public Health Director Phillip Tarte has been named one of the members. He and the others will study ways to better protect people and environment from new and emerging chemicals of concern, including GenX and hexavalent chromium.

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“We selected top talent from a robust pool of more than 50 candidates from across North Carolina,” said Michael Regan, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality. “The panel we’ve assembled will provide vital long-term scientific guidance on how to best protect public health and the environment from emerging chemical compounds.”

Members of the Science Advisory Board will use their expertise to assist DEQ and DHHS by recommending reviews and evaluations of contaminants released to the environment; acting as consultants on DEQ’s determinations to regulate releases of contaminants; and assisting the agencies in identifying contaminants of emerging concern and helping determine whether the contaminants should be studied further. Experts on the panel will also help evaluate the human health impacts of exposure to hazardous contaminants, and give input to DHHS as the agency establishes health goals for emerging contaminants.

“We share a goal to protect the safety and health of all North Carolinians,” said Mandy Cohen, secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. “We look forward to working closely with the panel and our partners at the Department of Environmental Quality.”

The full board’s first meeting will be on October 23 in Raleigh. The board is scheduled to introduce the new membership, discuss its priorities and hear from Regan and Cohen. A web page has been developed for the newly expanded science board.

Board members will conduct business in an open forum to allow for public input. You can also follow the meeting online through WebEx.

Under the board’s new charter, the scope of its work has expanded from toxic air pollutants to a broader focus on the impact of new and emerging chemicals. Membership also increased from eight to 16 voting members, and includes four members of the former board.

All members are appointed by the DEQ and DHHS secretaries. Members come from academic institutions, the public and private sectors, and independent research facilities.  The board will meet at least six times each year.

On October 12, the state named Dr. Jamie Bartram as the new chairman of the board. Bartram is a professor and founding director of The Water Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Other members of the board are:

  • Viney Aneja, Ph.D., a professor in N.C. State University’s Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Aneja is an air contamination scientist and a highly-regarded expert with a long history of public service at the federal and state level.
  • Tom Augspurger, Ph.D., an ecologist/environmental contaminants specialist at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Raleigh, an adjunct associate professor in the Toxicology Program at N.C. State University, and president of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (North America). He is widely published on the topics of fish and wildlife toxicology.
  • W. Greg Cope, Ph.D., department extension leader in Applied Ecology and coordinator of N.C. State’s Agromedicine Program. His research interests include aquatic toxicology, molluscan and fish biology, and physiology.
  • David Dorman, DVM, Ph.D., DABVT, DABT, an N.C. State University professor of Toxicology in the Department of Molecular Biosciences and a former associate dean for Research and Graduate Studies at N.C. State’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He has chaired or served on numerous National Research Council, or NRC, committees. He previously served on the Science Advisory Board.
  • Jaqueline MacDonald Gibson, Ph.D., an associate professor at UNC’s Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering with a multidisciplinary background in math, science and engineering. She has devoted much of her research to predicting population health impacts of alternative environmental policy decisions.
  • Richard T. Di Giulio, Ph.D., the Kleberg Professor of Environmental Toxicology at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. He serves as director of its Superfund Research Center and Integrated Toxicology and Environmental Health Program.
  • Elaina Kenyon, Ph.D., DABT, principle investigator in toxicology at the EPA’s research laboratory in Research Triangle Park. Her work focuses on a modeling technique that predicts the behavior of synthetic or natural chemical substances in humans and other animal species. She is an advisor to the World Health Organization and International Programme on Chemical Safety. She served on the former Science Advisory Board.
  • Gina Kimble, Ph.D., a laboratory supervisor at Charlotte Water and Catawba Wateree Water Management Group team lead for the Water Supply Master Plan Phase 3 project. She has participated in Water Research Foundation projects related to water quality and analytical method development, and   serves as the Charlotte Water representative for the N.C. Urban Water Consortium.
  • Detlef Knappe, Ph.D., a professor of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at N.C. State University. He joined the N.C. State faculty in 1996. In November 2016, Dr. Knappe and co-authors at the Environmental Protection Agency and UNC-Charlotte published research showing elevated levels of GenX in drinking water at a plant near Wilmington.
  • Thomas Starr, Ph.D., an expert in quantitative assessment of health and environmental risks from exposure to toxic substances who has published extensively on exposure assessment. He holds an academic appointment to the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Department of Environmental Science and Engineering. He served on the former Science Advisory Board since 1990, including eight years as chairman.
  • Woodhall Stopford, MD, MSPH, a physician at Duke University Medical Center and past director of the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Toxicology Program at Duke. Author of more than 80 articles on occupational toxicology and risk assessment of contaminants in consumer products, he serves on several national committees that assess risks to human health. He served on former Science Advisory Board since 1990.
  • Michael Stoskopf, DVM, Ph.D., DACZM, a professor of Wildlife and Aquatic Health at the N.C. State’s School of Veterinary Medicine, with appointments to Forestry, Biomedical Engineering and Toxicology. He also is director of NCSU’s Environmental Medicine Consortium. His research focuses on population, ecosystem and landscape approaches to health management of wildlife species.
  • Phillip Tarte, MPH, the Public Health director of New Hanover County. He previously served as Union County Public Health director. He is a member of the board of the N.C. Institute of Medicine.
  • Betsey Tilson, M.D., MHP, a pediatrician and preventive medicine physician serving as state health director and chief medical officer. She has focused on public health and prevention and cross-department initiatives, including clinical quality standards. She was the 2016 recipient of the American College of Preventive Medicine Distinguished Service Award.
  • John Vandenberg, Ph.D., director of the Research Triangle Park Division of the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment. He leads the EPA’s Integrated Science Assessments for the criteria air pollutants and the Integrated Risk Information System for high priority hazardous air pollutants. He also is an adjunct professor in the Division of Environmental Sciences and Policy at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.