"When Kenneth Olden discusses environmental justice, he knows what he is talking about."
"Olden led the way in establishing the area as a legitimate scientific field during more than a decade at the National Institutes of Health, funding groundbreaking research on topics such as how bus exhaust disproportionately affects minority children in low-income homes in New York City.
And though many of his colleagues don't know it, Olden's dedication to the issue is tied to his own experiences. The son of sharecroppers from an impoverished area of rural Tennessee, he is one of the few people from that community to graduate from college -- let alone ascend the echelons of the scientific community.
Now in the twilight of a career that has transcended racial boundaries, Olden has taken over U.S. EPA's National Center for Environmental Assessment, or NCEA, the agency's division for determining how chemicals and environmental factors affect human health -- including what causes cancer. NCEA's assessments form the foundation of major regulations, such as drinking water and air standards."