Environment

Finally, here is a list of DEQ, DHHS Science Advisory Board members — and it’s impressive

Chief Medical Officer and State Health Director Dr. Betsey Tilson. (Courtesy photo)

Toxicologists, ecologists, air quality experts and public health officials: After a wait of more than two months, the list of 16 appointees to the Secretaries’ Science Advisory Board has been posted on the NC Department of Environmental Quality website.

The roster is current as of Oct. 17. The board will meet Monday, Oct. 23, at 3 p.m. in the Ground Floor Hearing Room of the Archdale Building, which faces Halifax Mall in Raleigh.

The members include Detlef Knappe, one of the scientists who originally discovered GenX in the Cape Fear River and in the drinking water at Wilmington’s Sweeney plant.

In August, as the GenX crisis was unfolding, Gov. Roy Cooper announced the expansion of the existing science advisory board and its role. Appointed by the secretaries of DEQ and the Department of Health and Human Services, the board’s first charge is to study ways to better protect public health and the environment from new or emerging chemicals of concern, including GenX and hexavalent chromium.

However, environmental advocates have been quietly critical of the agencies’ slow response in appointing the board. Just last week, DEQ Secretary Michael Regan announced that Jamie Bartram, a professor and founding director of The Water Institute at UNC Chapel Hill, would be the chairman.

Here is the roster of the other members and their scientific backgrounds. According to their résumés, they all are accomplished in their respective fields.

W. Greg Cope, a toxicology and fisheries biology professor at NC State University (Photo: NCSU)

  • Tom Augspurger, is an adjunct associate professor in the toxicology program at NC State University. He specializes in ecology and environmental contaminants as a specialist with the US Fish & Wildlife Service in Raleigh.
  • W. Greg Cope, an NC State professor in toxicology and fisheries biology, focuses on pesticides, persistent organic pollutants, metals, the impacts of sediments and ecosystems. He is also affiliated with the Southeast Climate Science Center, which is under the US Department of the Interior.
  • Richard T. Di Giulio, a professor of environmental toxicology at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, also directs the university’s Superfund Research Center. He also leads the integrated toxicology and environmental health program. Di Giulo’s research has also found contamination in waterways related to coal-fired power plants.
  • David Dorman, the associate dean for research and graduate studies at NC State’s veterinary school is also a toxicology professor. He has contributed to a the National Research Council on projects related to toxicology and human risk assessment. Dorman was appointed to the original Science Advisory Board in 2011.

    Elaina Kenyon, a toxicologist at the EPA in Research Triangle Park. (Photo: LinkedIn)

Elaina Kenyon, a research toxicologist, works at the EPA in Research Triangle Park. A member of the original SAB since 1996, she has published research on air toxics, risk assessment and toxicological modeling.

Thomas Starr of TBS Associates, an environmental consulting company, has also worked as an adjunct associate professor at UNC’s Gillings School of Public Health. A past member of an EPA science advisory board on a type of compound known as halogenated organics. These chemical are used in several common products, including pesticides, paint and flame retardants.

  • Dr. Woodhall Stopford of Duke University’s Department of Community and Family Medicine has written more than 80 publications on workplace-related toxicology, pesticides and contaminants in consumer products. A board member since 1990, Stopford also served on an EPA panel assessing the risks of dioxins in ceramics.
  • John Vandenburg, the national program director of the EPA’s Human Health Risk Assessment Program, focuses on hazardous air pollutants and risk. He also worked as an adjunct professor at the Duke Nicholas School, where he specialized in toxicology and environmental policy.
  • State Health Director and DHHS Chief Medical Officer Betsey Tilson is a pediatrician and works in preventative medicine. She also was a assistant consulting professor and cancer control specialist with Duke University Medical Center and as a clinical pediatric fellow UNC Chapel Hill.
  • Philip Tarte, has been the New Hanover County Public Health director since July 2016. He sits on the NC Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Advisory Board and NC Institute of Medicine board.
  • Viney Aneja is a professor in NC State’s Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. He has been appointed to the EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors Exeutive Committee and chairs a related committee on Air, Climate and Energy.
  • Jaqueline Gibson, an associate professor at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, researches how environmental policy decisions affect population health. Among her research work is “Strategies to improve private well water quality: a North Carolina perspective,” which will soon be published in Environmental Health Perspectives.
  • Gina Kimble supervises the lab for the Charlotte water system. She serves on the NC Urban Water Consortium and as an advisory committee member for the Water Resources Research Institute.
  • A professor of aquatics, wildlife and zoological medicine at NC State, Michael Stoskopf researches ecosystems and the health of wildlife species, including the endangered red wolf. He also directs the Environmental Medicine Consortium at NCSU.

Dr. Michael Stoskopf and Dr. Anne Acton (right) examine a sleeping red wolf at the College of Veterinary Medicine. The lone wolf is part of a study of the endangered species and the red wolf reintroduction program. (Photo by Roger Winstead)

One Comment


  1. richard manyes

    October 20, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    I hope they are allowed to do their job.

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