U.S. Senator Jack Reed brought Dr. Linda Birnbaum, a preeminent toxicologist who is the head of the National Institute for Environment Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP), to Rhode Island to meet with community and state leaders about lead poisoning prevention, reforming our nation’s chemical laws, and enhancing environmental health.
Senator Reed, who has been a champion for lead poisoning prevention, and Dr. Birnbaum, who oversees federal policy for biomedical research to discover how the environment influences human health and disease, led a forum on the causes, impacts, and mitigation of lead, toxic chemicals, and other environmental health hazards. They were joined by Jim Vincent, President of the NAACP Providence Branch, as well as several Providence-area students and members of the NAACP Providence Branch Youth Council who had returned from volunteering in Flint, Michigan, where they assisted local families that were hit by the water crisis.
Later in the day, Senator Reed and Dr. Birnbaum went to Brown University, where they met with researchers from the university’s Superfund Research Program (SRP) to discuss ways to improve health outcomes for Rhode Islanders who are exposed to environmental toxins. The SRP is one of several research projects in Rhode Island funded by the NIEHS, which recently renewed funding for “Toxicant Exposures in Rhode Island: Past, Present, and Future,” an SRP program that focuses on complex environmental contaminant issues in Rhode Island.