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Whitman visits Innovative EPA lab in Support of Environmental Science Month

Release Date: 5/7/2003
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

FORT MEADE, Md. – U.S. EPA Administrator Christie Whitman today marked the May celebration of Environmental Science Month with a visit to EPA’s Environmental Science Center in Ft. Meade, Md.

She toured the lab to see progress on new screening techniques for possible endocrine disruptors, a top priority for EPA, and visited the Office of Pesticide Programs’ microbiology laboratory, which provided critical support for anthrax decontamination of the Hart Senate Office Building last year. Administrator Whitman was joined by Dr. Paul Gilman, EPA science advisor and assistant administrator, Office of Research and Development.

At the endocrine disruptor project, Whitman operated an analytical instrument - a high-tech computer-based machine - that separates chemicals into components, and is used to develop new tests for possible endocrine disruptors in water. The administrator also toured the Office of Pesticide Programs microbiology laboratory that supports anthrax decontamination efforts and researches new methods for evaluating decontamination chemicals. The microbiology lab is one of two EPA labs nationally that is certified at the Biosafety Level III, and therefore can safely handle anthrax testing.

“The importance of sound science to EPA’s work in protecting the environment and human health cannot be overstated,” said Administrator Whitman. “As we handle ever-more complex public health challenges, such as endocrine disruptors, pesticide resides and detection of biological agents, newer and more sophisticated scientific methods are required to support our policies. What I have seen here today shows me that EPA has the scientific backbone to accomplish its mission.”

The Environmental Science Center, completed in 1999, is home to seven research programs, and is an environmentally-friendly, state-of-the art facility which uses green technology – an energy-saving lighting system, non-freon cooling and heating systems, and wood lab cases made from sustainable forests. The center is a sustainable building, designed for a 25 percent increase without the need to replace major mechanical components.