rachel-shaffer-102319_8About me:

I dressed up as Rachel Carson for career day in 4th grade, and I’ve continued to explore the field of environmental health ever since.

I graduated from Yale University in 2012 with a BA in Environmental Studies/Environmental Health. After college, I worked in the Health Program at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in Washington, DC. I contributed to projects related to TSCA reform, risk assessment, systemic review, conflict of interest in chemical review panels, emerging methods in toxicity testing, and Latino health community engagement.

I have a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Environmental and Occupational Health, and I’m currently pursuing a PhD in Environmental Toxicology at the UW Seattle School of Public Health. My dissertation research focuses on air pollution and dementia.

To see the projects & publications I’ve been involved with, you can check out my Google Scholar profile.

About Rachel Talks Tox:

I’m interested in the intersection of science and policy in environmental public health: How can we use existing and emerging information to inform the development of better risk assessments and regulations? How much, and what kind of, information do we need to have before drawing conclusions about health risks from chemical exposures?

I will use this site as a forum for discussion and commentary on environmental health news as I progress through my graduate studies.

Follow me: @rshaffer14

More about me:

2 thoughts on “About

  1. Rachel
    I am a bike commuter in the Twin Cities. Yesterday, among other days, I noticed I was uncomfortable breathing. Yup the air quality index was bad.

    I wanted to research the impact on my health. I am 65 male non smoker and committed for 18 years.

    My sense of smell is very good. I find that when riding I smell cloths dryer fragrance, people smoking, paint fumes from a factory, a bad smell from some sort of foundry, Burger King and McDonalds, sewer gas, and bus fumes. I also know that when I am near busy roads dust and exhaust are in the air

    Do you have any way that I could measure this? Is there a reporting or science data base where this day can be gathered?

    I feel that there is a call to action. I am afraid that most people will tell me to buy a car. ( just making it worse for others).




  2. Hi Tom,

    Thanks for your questions! I assume you have seen my blog post about this topic, (https://racheltalkstox.wordpress.com/2018/05/22/a-bike-ride-a-day-might-not-keep-the-doctor-away/) which covers what we know and don’t know about biking in polluted air.

    This is a topic of great interest to the environmental health community, and there will likely be more data on this issue in the coming years.

    If you’re interested in learning about how to measure air quality yourself, you might want to check out this article about different sensors: https://www.citylab.com/environment/2018/07/cheap-sensors-are-democratizing-air-quality-data/563990/

    Some groups, like Environmental Defense Fund, are working with academic researchers to produce street level maps of emissions in cities: https://www.edf.org/airqualitymaps

    You might also want to get in touch with the MN Department of Health of the School of Public Health at the UMN to see if anyone is working on this or related issues.

    I definitely relate to your frustrations and challenges! Feel free to keep in touch.


    p.s. Here is a technical scientific article that was recently published, about high emissions outside of restaurants: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.8b02654?af=R


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