Honoring a Science Champion


Science Champion Award

Gail Carlson, PhD, assistant professor, Environmental Studies, Colby College. The chair of our Science Advisory Council and a former executive board member at the Strategy Center, Dr. Carlson exemplifies putting science into action. She brought her expertise ​to key committee hearings of the Maine Legislature several times this session. Her testimony was foundational for both campaigns, explaining the science basis of why flame retardants are unnecessary and harmful, and how arsenic occurs in groundwater and harms health. 

Facing off against a chemical industry-hired toxicologist, she was especially impressive ​as the ​clear​ winner of a ​debate at ​a committee briefing on the health impacts of flame retardants, ​gaining the trust and respect of legislators on both sides of the aisle. “It was a fascinating experience to sit next to a chemical industry representative and go back and forth answering questions,” says Dr. Carlson. “I'd like to think that not only did I have science on my side, but also common sense.”

Dr. Carlson teaches in the Environmental Studies Program at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, with an emphasis on environmental public health and environmental activism. Dr. Carlson is also the director of Colby's new Buck Environment and Climate Change Lab.

“Maine is an innovative leader in safer chemicals policy because of the Environmental Health Strategy Center's dedicated and unwavering commitment to a healthy environment for all,” says Dr. Carlson.

The Science Champion Award recognizes an extraordinary scientist whose expertise is put to use in service of the common good. Award winners' significant intellectual contributions have advanced science-based solutions to help protect kids and families from harm.