EPA research scientist Dr. Linda S. Birnbaum has been named president of the Society of Toxicologists (SOT), the largest international association of toxicologists. The group has more than 5,000 members from academic institutions, industry and the government, from nearly 50 countries.
In her new position, Dr. Birnbaum will be a leading advocate in advancing science and education to prevent potential human and environmental health risks from exposure to toxic substances. She began her one-year term on May 1.
"Dr. Birnbaum is a tremendous asset to the Environmental Protection Agency as well as to the best scientists around the world. The role of science at EPA extends beyond the work performed in its laboratories. Now Dr. Birnbaum will have an increased opportunity to lead the larger scientific community to pursue toxicology for enhanced human, animal and environmental health," said Dr. Paul Gilman, EPA science advisor and assistant administrator for the Office of Research and Development.
EPA scientists prepare risk assessments, which are critical to the formulation of regulatory actions. Some risk assessments include setting safe levels of a contaminant in drinking water and acceptable levels for criteria air pollutants.
Since 1989, Dr. Birnbaum has worked at EPA's Office of Research and Development as director of the Experimental Toxicology Division in the National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, located at Research Triangle Park, N.C. She oversees research to determine the health effects of environmental pollutants that may affect the pulmonary, cardiovascular and immune systems.
Prior to joining EPA, Birnbaum was a scientist at the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences and National Toxicology Program, also in Research Triangle Park, between 1979-89. She is an adjunct professor in the School of Public Health and Curriculum in Toxicology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at Duke University's Integrated Toxicology Program.
Birnbaum has published more than 270 peer-reviewed articles and numerous book chapters.