I’m an environmental public health scientist
with a broad background in
epidemiology, toxicology, and research translation. I have
a passion for teaching
and for communicating science. I’m especially interested in how we can use
scientific information to create
effective chemicals policy that protects
the environment and public health.
In 2019-20, I am based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where I am collaborating with
the Environment and Social Development Organization
on local pollution issues, including
- characterization of PFAS pollution in waterways. 80% of Bangladesh's exports
are textiles, and many of these may use PFAS coatings for water or stain resistance.
- lead use in informal industry. In addition to obvious sources like lead-acid
battery recycling, we are investigating communities where lead is used as a flux in
noble metal recovery (!).
- air pollution. Dhaka's air pollution is among the
worst in the world. I am building and deploying Arduino-based PM2.5 sensors to help
characterize pollution sources.
- mercury in products. Under the Minimata Convention,
Bangladesh must phase out virtually all mercury use in products in 2020.
Astonishingly, we are finding mercury in the 10,000 ppm range in some imported skin whitening
My work focuses on the use of scientific data in forming effective
I have extensive experience with chemicals regulation in
the United States, including a year as an
AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow
hosted within EPA’s Design for the
I have a special interest in the effectiveness of the restriction and authorisation processes
under the European Union’s REACH chemicals policy,
through ongoing collaborations with the
European Environmental Bureau,
the Health and Environment Alliance,
and other EU- and US-based organizations.
When I'm not in Dhaka, I teach regularly in the Providence and Boston areas.
In the past few years I have taught
at Boston University’s Sargent
College, the Brown University School of Public Health,
and the Environmental Studies Program at Boston College.
I am affiliated with Brown University’s Center for Environmental Health and Technology.
Previously, I’ve taught extensively at
as well as at the
Boston University School of Public Health.
I am also available for writing and
editing on environmental health and environmental health policy.
Sample recent consulting products:
Courses I’ve taught:
- Environmental Health and Policy, a
“fundamentals” course on environmental public health, covering the basic
scientific approaches (toxicology, epidemiology, risk assessment), the policy and
regulatory context, and emerging problems in environmental health.
- Foundations of Environmental Science
and Introduction to
These introductory courses, targeted at Environmental Studies majors and non-majors respectively, emphasize the
human-environment connection, including energy and climate, agriculture,
waste, and toxics.
- Environmental Ethics and the End of the World, a
seminar on environmental apocalypse and environmental ethics through the lens of literature.
- Cities, Environment, and Health, an overview of the
imapacts of urban design on health and the environment. This class covers the basic
history and theory of urban planning and design, examines the impacts of
different design approaches, and considers the prospects for the future.
Spoiler alert: While cities have their challenges, they can be very, very good
for both health and environment.
- Methods in Environmental Health Sciences, a
laboratory-based introduction to research methods in the field, including
toxicology, epidemiology, exposure assessment, and risk assessment.
- Environmental Policy, an overview of environmental law,
policy, and regulation. This course emphasizes US governmental structures and
the resulting regulations; because of my particular experience and interests, the regulation
of chemicals is highlighted.
- The Global Supply Chain, a senior seminar focusing on
global health and environmental impacts of manufacturing, trade, and
In ongoing development: The Health
Studies Guide is a resource for communities affected by or concerned about
Scammell and I developed the Guide with help from a number of other collaborators.
In preparation: Howard, GJ. Intellectual property in chemicals management: The
intersection of analytical chemistry and corporate strategy.
- Howard GJ. 2014. Chemical alternatives assessment: The case of flame
retardants. Chemosphere. 116:112-7.
- Howard GJ and Webster TF. 2013. Contrasting theories of interaction in
epidemiology and toxicology.
Environmental Health Perspectives 121:1-6.
- Howard GJ, Schlezinger JJ, Hahn ME, and Webster TF. 2010. Generalized
concentration addition predicts joint effects of aryl hydrocarbon
receptor agonists with partial agonists and competitive antagonists.
Environmental Health Perspectives 118:666-672.
- Lockman FJ, Pisano DJ, and Howard GJ. 1996. Detection of 130
“Diffuse” Galactic H II Regions.
The Astrophysical Journal,