Baylor Environmental Scientist Selected as Chair of the Science Advisory Committee for Chemicals to the EPA
George Cobb, Ph.D., leads committee that provides independent scientific advice and recommendations to the EPA for chemicals regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act
WACO, Texas (Aug. 30, 2023) – George Cobb, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Science at Baylor University, has been selected to serve as chair of the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC), which provides independent advice on science and technical issues to assist the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in implementing the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), as amended in 2016 by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.
The SACC is composed of experts in toxicology; environmental risk assessment; exposure assessment; and related sciences, including synthetic biology, pharmacology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, biochemistry, biostatistics, physiologically based pharmacokinetic modeling (PBPK), computational toxicology, epidemiology, environmental fate and environmental engineering and sustainability. Cobb’s area of expertise is environmental chemistry, analytical chemistry and exposure assessment.
“I am honored and humbled to be named as the chair of the Science Advisory Committee for Chemicals. Serving on any U.S. EPA Advisory Committee is a great honor. Serving as chair of the SACC is especially gratifying,” Cobb said. “First, the SACC membership includes a true who’s who of scientists, physicians and engineers, and it’s a privilege to serve alongside them. Second, the SACC advises EPA’s approaches for assessing chemicals that are regulated by the Toxic Substances Control Act. Thus, the Committee speaks directly to the science that is used to evaluate the human and environmental risks posed by chemicals used in commerce.”
SACC provides its science-based advice to the EPA Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics for risk assessments, methodologies and pollution prevention measures or approaches, including models, tools, guidance documents, chemical category documents and other chemical assessment and pollution prevention products.
“This advice can address approaches that are being considered and are proposed for use in evaluations of whether an overall assessment has been conducted using the most appropriate techniques,” Cobb said. “Ultimately, our committee speaks directly into the process that determines if chemicals are retained for use in commerce, have modifications to conditions of use or are removed from use. That is a tremendous responsibility for protecting our citizens while allowing commerce to proceed in a reasonable manner.”
Cobb has more than 35 years of experience assessing the fate and effects of chemicals in the environment. He has published over 140 peer-reviewed journal articles in this area of inquiry and has successfully assessed adverse effects that contaminants cause in organisms, both in the environment and in controlled laboratory studies. Successful field assessments include normal-use pesticide applications, National Priorities List sites, and state and municipal air and water quality.
Most recently, Cobb’s research group has emphasized personal care product transformation in wastewater treatment; nanomaterial alteration of amphibian development; metal toxicant accumulation by rice; airborne steroid movement from concentrated animal feeding operations; transformation of explosives in mammals; and ultra-high resolution Mass Spectrometry screening.
In addition to his leadership of SACC, Cobb has been named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society and has served as the immediate past chair of the Environmental Chemistry Division and a member of the Committee for Environmental Improvement. He is a Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Fellow and the former president of SETAC, North America. He is an editor for the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.
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Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
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