Note to Reporters: A photo of Bill Farland is available with the news release at http://www.news.colostate.edu/.
Bill Farland, vice president for Research at Colorado State University and formerly top scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency, has been named to two prestigious National Academies of Science committees that address environmental issues and their impact on human health.
Farland has been selected as chair of the National Research Council committee on Emerging Science for Environmental Health Decisions, which will focus on new discoveries and technologies used in the identification and control of environmental impacts on human health. The committee will facilitate communication among government and industry leaders as well as representatives of academic and environmental groups. It also will produce a series of workshops related to health and the environment.
The committee is expected to investigate developments in toxicology, molecular biology, bioinformatics, and related fields. Topics could include use of information about gene-environment interactions in decisions regarding human health; application of technological advances in identifying chemical effects on gene, protein and metabolite expression; and methods for improving exposure assessment, according to the committee’s website.
Farland also has been named to a new National Research Council committee established by the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology that will address risks associated with environmentally released nanomaterials. The committee will investigate and write a report about whether certain materials in nano form are more hazardous than their larger counterparts to health and the environment.
One example, Farland said, is the push to use metal oxides in nano form in sunscreens. While the sunscreen may be transparent and still shield the skin from ultraviolet rays, the fate of the nano form of metal oxide should be evaluated to assure that, if absorbed, it doesn’t produce oxygen radicals that damage skin cells, he said. Similar concerns have been raised about inhaled nanomaterials released from manufacturing processes.
When Farland joined Colorado State in September 2006, he was the highest ranking career scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency. He served as deputy assistant administrator for science in the EPA’s Office of Research and Development and also directed the EPA’s Office of the Science Advisor, which serves as the authority on integrating sound science in regulatory decisions. He served as Acting Agency Science Advisor throughout 2005. The Academy of Toxicological Sciences named him a Fellow in 2008. Since he has been at Colorado State, Farland has managed record-breaking annual research expenditures of $312 million.