NIEHS Director Birnbaum Urges Caution on Replacement Chemicals

"Nearly a year ago, toxicologist Linda Birnbaum was named director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program. She sat down with Environmental Health News journalist Jane Kay in San Francisco on Wednesday to answer questions about the environmental health risks we face today.

As head of the federal institute examining environmental health, Birnbaum and her staff are taking on many controversial topics, including Bisphenol A and new flame retardants in consumer products. She talks about those issues and explains how scientists are trying to figure out what role chemicals and contaminants may play in breast cancer and other diseases and disorders.

"I’m concerned about some of the plasticizers, including phthalates, and some of the flame retardants, especially the alternative ones," she said. "In this country, we kind of jump from the proverbial fry pan into the fire without thinking about the alternative."without thinking about the alternative."

Jane Kay interviews Birnbaum for Environmental Health News November 20, 2009.

Friday, November 20, 2009