Environmental contaminants expert appointed chair of California biomonitoring panel

January 20, 2016

Asa BradmanAsa Bradman, associate director of the Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health and faculty affiliate of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH), became chair of Biomonitoring California’s Scientific Guidance Panel (SGP) in November 2015. Bradman has been a member of the SGP since 2007, first appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and later reappointed by Governor Jerry Brown.

Bradman will coordinate with the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), one of three state departments that implement Biomonitoring California, to facilitate three SGP meetings annually.

“Dr. Bradman is a leading expert on exposure to environmental contaminants, such as pesticides, volatile organic compounds, and flame retardants, in California communities. His research also investigates potential links to health effects in vulnerable populations, including pregnant women and children. He brings a rich and wide-ranging perspective on issues of great importance to Biomonitoring California, and we look forward to working with him as the new SGP Chair,” said Dr. Lauren Zeise, acting director of OEHHA.

Biomonitoring California measures levels of synthetic chemicals and pollutants in Californians, establishing trends in the levels of these chemicals over time. The program also assesses the success of regulatory programs designed to reduce exposures.

“We know for example, when lead was removed from gasoline, blood lead levels declined in children. Now there’s some evidence that, with the reduction of PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ether) flame retardant use in furniture, body burdens of PBDEs are declining,” says Bradman. “California has had much higher PBDE exposures than any other population in the United States because we’ve had a fire safety standard that was met using chemicals. Governor Brown supported a revision to those rules in 2014 (Senate Bill 1019) that will maintain fire safety, but also reduce the need for chemicals to meet the standard.”

“The Scientific Guidance Panel contributes to the list of potential chemicals to monitor,” he adds. “We can add chemicals and elevate certain chemicals on the base list to a higher priority. We also provide input on laboratory issues and quality assurance. Importantly, Biomonitoring California is also pioneering strategies to return individual test results to participants, a provision of SB 1379, the law creating the program. The Scientific Guidance Panel has provided substantial input on this important aspect of the program.”

Bradman also serves on the Science Advisory Council for the National Center for Healthy Homes, the California Child Care Regulatory Work Group, and the Eco-Healthy Child Care program of the Children’s Environmental Health Network.

Other UC Berkeley School of Public Health affiliates on the nine member Scientific Guidance Panel include Megan Schwarzman, associate director of UC Berkeley's Center for Green Chemistry, and Thomas McKone, adjunct professor of environmental health sciences.

This story originally ran in the Winter 2015-2016 issue of COEH Bridges.