ToxStrategies’ Senior Engineer/Industrial Hygienist Dr. LeeAnn Racz spoke on the topic of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), delivering a keynote address to the National Conference of the Alliance of Hazardous Materials Professionals in March 2022. The widespread use of PFAS in many products and processes (e.g., electronics, textiles, lubricants, cookware, firefighting foams, and carpeting, to name a few) has resulted in global proliferation of these chemicals. The chemical and physical properties of PFAS vary widely, which leads to differences in their environmental persistence and potential for toxicity and bioaccumulation. Toxicology studies have reported harmful effects on animals, particularly at high doses, making PFAS a controversial topic among the public, regulators, and the scientific community. Dr. Racz discussed the evolution of perceptions and uses of PFAS over several decades and resulting trends in developing public policy, and she offered context for risk management.
Dr. Racz also made a technical presentation titled, “Embracing an Agile and Lean Six Sigma culture for worker health.” She discussed how process improvement frameworks have improved productivity, reduced waste, and increased quality in a variety of industries, concluding that occupational and environmental health safety (OEHS) professionals can strengthen their influence dramatically by empowering and enlisting participation from the workers they are charged with protecting.
Dr. Racz is a Board-Certified Environmental Engineer and Certified Industrial Hygienist with a background in environmental health and workplace exposure assessment. She completed a 23-year career with the U.S. Air Force before entering the consulting arena.