Timme-Laragy Appointed to Massachusetts Toxic Use Reduction Science Advisory Board
The Board's primary role is to consider petitions to add or delete chemicals from the state's toxic use chemical list
Professor of Environmental Health Sciences Alicia Timme-Laragy has been selected to serve on the Massachusetts Toxic Use Reduction Science Advisory Board. She began her term in February following her appointment by then-Governor Charlie Baker last November.
The Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA), adopted in 1989, is designed to protect public health and the environment while enhancing the competitiveness of Massachusetts businesses. Under TURA, facilities that use large amounts of toxic chemicals are required to report on their chemical use, conduct toxics use reduction planning every two years, and pay a fee. The fees paid by TURA filers support the work of the TURA implementing agencies, and are used to provide a wide variety of services, including training, grant programs and technical assistance.
The Science Advisory Board (SAB) was formed to work with the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI), one of the act’s three implementing agencies. The Board's primary role is to consider petitions to add or delete chemicals from the TURA chemical list and make recommendations to the Institute accordingly. They also provide scientific or technical advice concerning TURA-related issues. SAB members have extensive professional experience and/or academic expertise in fields such as toxicology, epidemiology, occupational medicine, environmental science or chemistry.
“This appointment is an exciting evolution of my work as a Public Engagement Program fellow (2019) and expert testimony that I’ve provided to the state legislature’s PFAS task force,” says Timme-Laragy. “I’m delighted to contribute to this science advisory board and be able to translate my knowledge to inform science-based policy recommendations.”
Among her many accomplishments, Timme-Laragy is the principal investigator of a five-year, $2.44 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to research how embryonic exposure to certain common pollutants may put people at risk for diabetes and other metabolic health conditions later in life. Timme-Laragy and her research team examine the impact on the developing pancreas of early life-stage exposures to two common per and polyfluoroalkylated substances (PFAS) chemicals, found in waterproof and nonstick household products, and the PFAS-containing aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), used to fight flammable-liquid fires. These so-called “forever chemicals” take decades to break down in the environment and have contaminated drinking water worldwide.