As a collaborator with the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute (SSEHRI) and the Silent Spring Institute, I conduct research and writing on the social and scientific discovery of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). I participate in the PFAS lab group at Northeastern University, where we produce a range of public-oriented materials and tools on this emergent class of concern: a PFAS contamination tracking database, an interactive map of national PFAS contamination (developed with the Environmental Working Group), interactive historical timelines of PFAS contamination sites, and current media coverage of this global contaminant of concern. In 2017, the PFAS lab group organized a national conference in partnership with the Silent Spring Institute, Testing for Pease, and the Toxics Action Center. The conference was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Presentation recordings and powerpoint slides are available online. Our research on the PFAS class of chemicals has been covered in media outlets such as The Intercept, Politico, and The New York Times.
In partnership with Columbia University and the City College of New York’s Toxic Docs project, I helped launch a database of thousands of PFAS-related documents, including internal industry memos and documents from corporate archives. These materials are now available for the first time online and in an electronically searchable format, including the contents of a major EPA Docket (AR-226) on PFAS compounds and their suspected health effects.
ASA Racial Equity Committee
In 2016 Elisabeth Wilder (Northeastern University), Michael Mascarenhas (UC Berkeley), and I founded the Racial Equity Task Force in the American Sociological Association Section on Environmental Sociology. With our committee members Jennifer Carrera (Michigan State University) and Raoul Lievanos (University of Oregon), we have conducted surveys and focus groups within the section, in addition to writing an article in the section newsletter on demographic changes in our section over time. In August 2018, we organized an ASA pre-conference, “Bridging the Gap: Race and Environment” at Temple University, funded by the National Science Foundation. We are currently editing a special collection on future directions in research on race and the environment.
The Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI) formed in 2016 to analyze and preserve environmental data in the U.S. EDGI archives government data, archives federal websites, interviews regulatory staff, and promotes the concept of environmental data justice. I have contributed to EDGI public reports (The EPA Under Siege) and academic journal articles, including two 2018 publications in the American Journal of Public Health.