Climate Change and Toxic Hazards: Before the Storm

January 24, 2019
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

This webinar is part of a series organized by CHE and the Boston University Superfund Research Program (BUSRP). Learn more about the CHE-BUSRP Partnership.

This webinar is the first in a 3-part series on climate change, toxic hazards, and how to prepare to protect public health before, during, and after a superstorm or flood. Speakers in this initial webinar will focus on how individuals and communities can prepare before calamity hits a community. They will describe a range of potential exposures to mixtures of toxic chemicals in water, air, and industrial sources that may be encountered during climate disasters and how to prepare to avoid them. The webinar will address the status of cleanup of Superfund sites nationwide, and how communities and businesses are changing preparation processes based on lessons learned from prior storms like Maria, Harvey, Irma, and Florence.

Speaker Tiffany Skogstrom of the Massachusetts Office of Technical Assistance (OTA) focused on training community leaders and industry representatives on chemical safety and resiliency in the face of upcoming storms, preventing the risk of creating new Superfund sites. Skogstrom demonstrated OTA's new online map of toxics users and climate vulnerabilities and discuss the findings of their trainings. Speaker Dr. Jennifer Horney of the University of Delaware’s Epidemiology Program and Disaster Research Center and adjunct Professor at Texas A&M University discussed how Houston residents' views on environmental health and resiliency of parks and recreation areas changed in response to the impacts from Hurricane Harvey. Horney focused on how data collected after Harvey could inform future disaster planning and preparation in Texas, and how this is applicable nationwide.

Featured Speakers

Tiffany SkogstromTiffany Skogstrom, MPH, is Outreach and Chemical Policy Analyst for the Building Chemical Safety Into Climate Change Resiliency Project at the Massachusetts Office of Technical Assistance. The project goal is to incorporate chemical safety into climate change and emergency preparedness to reduce risks of severe weather related industrial accidents. OTA’s map of Massachusetts toxics users and climate change vulnerable areas can be found here. Ms. Skogstrom raises the agency’s visibility as a free and confidential resource for Massachusetts’ toxics users and coordinates OTA’s chemical policy development and research. Her toxics use reduction and occupational health experience includes creating a program to improve the work environment for auto shop and nail salon workers through the Boston Public Health Commission’s Safe Shops and Safe Nail Salon Projects. Throughout her career, Tiffany has worked with various environmental and nonprofit organizations on waste reduction, recycling, and pollution prevention campaigns. Tiffany graduated from the Boston University School of Public Health where she concentrated in Environmental Health and was awarded the William B. Patterson Memorial Award for Excellence in Environmental and Occupational Health. She is also a 2006 Environmental Leadership Program Fellow and 2011 Fellow of the University of California San Francisco Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment’s Reach the Decision Makers Program.

Jennifer HorneyJennifer Horney, PhD, is Professor and Founding Director of the Program in Epidemiology and Core Faculty at the Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware. Dr. Horney’s research focuses on measuring the health impacts of disasters, as well as the linkages between disaster planning and household actions related to preparedness, response, and recovery. Dr. Horney received her PhD and MPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where her research focused on the role of social factors in decision making during disasters. She currently leads research projects funded by the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Academies of Sciences, the Department of Homeland Security and other federal, state, and local agencies. Dr. Horney was a member of a team of public health practitioners who responded to Hurricanes Isabel, Charley, Katrina, Wilma, Irene, and Harvey where she conducted rapid assessments of disaster impact on the public health of individuals and communities. She has also provided technical assistance to public health agencies globally around disasters, infectious disease outbreaks, and pandemic influenza planning and response.


This webinar was moderated by Dr. Wendy Heiger-Bernays, Clinical Professor of Environmental Health at the Boston University School of Public Health. 

This webinar lasted for 60 minutes and was recorded for our call and webinar archive.