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Obama to Appoint Former Council Member

By Eddy Ball
May 2010

Rafael Moure-Eraso, Ph.D.
Moure-Eraso, above, has worked in the field of worker safety, work environment, and environmental science for more than 37 years. (Photo courtesy of Rafael Moure-Eraso)

If Congress agrees, the new chair of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB)( Exit NIEHS will be a scientist and labor specialist with ties to NIEHS and the National Toxicology Program (NTP). On March 22, a White House press release identified industrial hygienist Rafael Moure-Eraso, Ph.D., as one of four new appointments President Obama intends to make to key posts in his administration.

During his 22-year career at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Moure-Eraso has been a professor, administrator, and chair in the Department of Work Environment in the School of Health and Environment.

Ties to NIEHS and NTP

Along with other high-level appointments in government, with labor unions, and at other universities, Moure-Eraso was a member of the NIEHS Study Section to Evaluate Educational Grants for Hazardous Waste Workers in 1987, 1990, and 1991. He served from 1991 to 1995 as an NIEHS National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council member. From 1999 to 2001, he was a member of the NTP Board of Scientific Counselors.

Moure-Eraso has served as principal investigator for several extramural research grants from the NIH, World Health Organization, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and other organizations. He was co-principal investigator for the NIEHS Center for Family Work and Community (CFWC) and Department of Work Environment - University of Massachusetts Lowell "Southeast Asian Environmental Health: New Ventures" from 1995 to 2005.

Advising on worker safety

Commenting on the expertise of his long-time friend and colleague, NIEHS Worker Education and Training Program Director Chip Hughes said, "Rafael will make certain that workers' safety and the environment are a part of the conversation when it comes to the deliberations of the CSB." Hughes described Moure-Eraso as a "top-notch environmental scientist" who "takes a holistic view to the setting of work environment policy."

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The CSB conducts root cause investigations of chemical accidents at fixed industrial facilities. The agency does not issue fines or citations, but does make recommendations to plants, regulatory agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), industry organizations, and labor groups.

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