Environmental Defense Fund: Environmental Health Fellow

Apply here. Applications due Friday, January 13 2017.

Non-U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for this position.

Website: www.edf.org

Location: Washington, DC

Fellowship Position

Position title: Environmental Health Fellow

Department: Environmental Health

Reports to: Lead Senior Scientist

Address of fellowship placement: 1875 Connecticut Ave., NW Suite 600, Washington, DC 20009

Department Description

EDF’s Health program is focused on five main objectives:

  • Pushing for effective, health-protective implementation of the new Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act, the main chemicals law of the U.S.
  • Partnering with companies to drive the development and use of safer chemicals and products in the supply chain through our ongoing partnership with Walmart and engagement of other companies
  • Reforming how the U.S. ensures chemicals added to food are safe
  • Reducing and eliminating lead exposure to the general public and children, particularly via drinking water and paint exposures 
  • Advancing the scientific tools and information needed to better understand health risks from exposures to air pollutants and chemicals. 

To achieve these goals, we work with diverse parties in government, business, academic institutions, and the public interest and health communities.

Position Description

EDF's Washington DC office seeks a High Meadows Fellow to assist the Health Program on several initiatives that collectively aim to reduce harmful chemical exposures and drive safer chemical innovations. Projects are focused on ensuring strong national chemicals policies, defining and facilitating market leadership related to safer chemicals and products, and advancing environmental health science. The multidimensional approach to our work will provide the Fellow with a unique opportunity to learn about and help shape both public- and private-sector chemicals management policies and practices. The Fellow will assist staff on the following ongoing program initiatives and projects: 

  • EDF is actively engaged in shaping the implementation of the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act, which recently passed in June 2016 and reforms the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act. The new law provides a critical opportunity to shape how chemicals are managed in the U.S. The Fellow would perform research in support of our analyses of and comments on EPA’s proposed chemical regulations and related activities, as well as support our efforts to increase public access to information needed to identify, assess, and reduce exposures to the most hazardous chemicals in commerce. The Fellow would also contribute to the development of materials for congressional and agency meetings, blog posts, webinars, and other outreach efforts related to the new law.
  • EDF partners with Walmart to reduce hazardous chemicals in consumer products and to promote innovation in the development of safer chemical ingredients. With EDF’s help, Walmart is currently implementing a corporate chemicals policy to increase the disclosure of product ingredients, reduce the use of hazardous ingredients in consumer products, and ensure that safer ingredients replace hazardous ones. The Fellow would provide research and data analysis to support successful implementation and expansion of the chemicals policy across multiple product categories. The Fellow would also be involved broadly in helping communicate EDF’s thought leadership on private sector activities related to safer chemicals and products.
  • Hundreds of food additives have been allowed into our food supply without proper review by the Food and Drug Administration. EDF is working with companies and the agency to improve the safety and transparency of chemicals in food. The Fellow would assist in analyzing chemical data from publicly available sites, in the production of communication materials, and in outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders. 
  • In the wake of the Flint, MI water crisis, EDF has renewed its efforts to reduce public, and especially children’s, exposure to lead. EDF is working to shape legislation to address lead exposure from paint and drinking water, and to accelerate lead service line replacement by water utilities and other private and public actors. The Fellow would provide research support to inform our education and communications efforts, including written materials, briefings, and workshops.

Examples of specific responsibilities, projects, tasks, and/or duties of the Fellow include:

The Fellow would have a range of responsibilities reflective of the work above, including:

  • Research in support of the program’s legislative, regulatory, and retail sector work including tracking developments and identifying potential opportunities for engagement •Tracking and analysis of new scientific research on chemical safety and health relevant to our legislative, regulatory, and retail work
  • Research and analysis of EPA regulatory proposals and assistance in preparation of formal comments for submission to EPA 
  • Research and analysis of business trends, chemicals information management systems, and other issues related to private sector chemicals policies, actions, and innovation efforts 
  • Support the development of various materials to publicly communicate about our work 


This position requires an economics or science degree ideally in biology, chemistry or a related field, or some background or coursework in environmental policy, and strong writing and organizational skills. Coding and geographic information systems (GIS) experience is a plus, but not a prerequisite. 

Professional Development

The Fellow will benefit from participating in projects situated at the interface between environmental science and policy, being a key contributor to tangible products, and seeing firsthand how a major environmental organization educates, works with and mobilizes diverse stakeholders to influence policy and practice.