Chief, Indoor Air Quality Program
California Department of Health Services
Environmental Health Laboratory
Jed Waldman has worked at the California Department of Health Services since 1996 as chief of the Indoor Air Quality Program, located at the Richmond Laboratory Campus. He is responsible for research, training, and public outreach on the full range of IAQ issues, including building design and ventilation, volatile organic compounds, asbestos, bioaerosols, and environmental tobacco smoke. Most recently, he directed studies of environmental health conditions in public school classrooms and chemical emissions from building materials.
Jed chairs of the California Interagency Working Group on IAQ and heads their work group on indoor environmental quality in schools. He has served on advisory panels for the U.S. EPA, Health Effects Institute, the American Lung Association, and the Environmental Law Institute, and he currently serves on U.S. EPA’s Science Advisory Board ‘s Integrated Human Exposure Committee. He was a visiting professor at the
Jed was trained in civil/sanitary engineering at the
What I Learned at EPHLI
Participating in the inaugural EPHLI has been both extremely rewarding and, at the same time, personally dissatisfying. In both regards, it has reflected the adage: you get out what you put in. I recognized from the beginning that I was somewhat a fish out of water – I am a research scientist/supervisor working on environmental health issues, but my work does not have include the mainline environmental health activities. After raising this concern when I applied, we agreed that there was an opportunity for all to learn from the challenges of the marginal fit.
This project evolved after changing my topic at a late point in the term. The decision was made as I learned more about the essential services approach to EH, and as I recognized that my original topic – and much of what I do at my job – was not the best match to this approach. My original project topic – Shaping policy to reduce chemical emissions from building materials used in homes, offices, and schools – was too narrow in scope, and it relies too heavily on the specialized technical components of my program. Ironically, in the past six months, I made significant progress on my original topic, as it is more closely aligned with my job focus and I have had substantial staff resources to apply. Nonetheless, I chose the new project topic, as it has been a “burr under my saddle” for much of my time at the State Health Department (10 years). I felt stuck in addressing it, so it begged for new skills, fresh approaches, and renewed motivation. As the training and project come to an end, I have more questions (and more frustration) about how I should approach this problem. Nonetheless, the EPHLI has given me a valuable new set of tools that, with practice, will certainly help me face the challenges of this and future problems.