Our Science & Policy Updates aim to to two things: first, provide our wonderful supporters with an update into the world of PSR-LA; and second, these updates are our way of offering our take on the most recent and compelling studies making their way up the pipeline. We know that sifting through mountains of available research for those which are reliable and methodologically sound is an often daunting and time-consuming task. We hope that our Science & Policy Updates can shoulder some of that burden for you.

Science is on our side, and with these updates delivered monthly to your e-mail inbox, we are able to share with you how groundbreaking and seminal research backs up the work we do here at PSR-LA and the tough positions we take to protect the health of all communities. Enjoy!


Martha Dina Argüello, Executive DirectorToxics: Flame Retardants

In this month’s Science & Policy Update, we examine the recently changing policies surrounding the use of flame retardant chemicals in California, and the science that links many of these toxic chemicals with adverse health effects such as cancer, reproductive disorders, and brain damage. On August 6th, the CA Assembly Appropriations Committee will vote on SB 1019, a bill (authored by Senator Mark Leno) that will require furniture manufacturers to disclose the use of flame retardant chemicals on a product’s label. The push for this particular bill follows the 2013 changes made to Technical Bulletin 117 (TB 117), the 1972 California regulation that set the standard for what could be considered “fire retardant” for upholstered furniture.

Read the full update here


By Denise Duffield, Associate Director

By Denise Duffield, Associate Director

Nuclear Threats

The EPA is soliciting public comment about whether to update the current nuclear power radiation protection standards. The current standards (titled “Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations, also known as 40 CFR 190) were established in 1977 to set legal levels for the acceptable amount of radiation released from nuclear facilities. Under the existing standards, radiation is treated as a “privileged pollutant,” and is held to weaker regulation than other pollutants and carcinogens. PSR-LA has joined allies Committee to Bridge the Gap, Nuclear Information Resource Service, and more than 60 other groups to demand that radiation pollution standards be raised to the protective standards of other pollutants.

Read the full update here


By: Monika Shankar, Health and Environment Associate

By: Monika Shankar, Health and Environment Associate

The Built Environment:

According to HUD and DOT’s new Location Affordability Portal (an online tool that assesses the combined housing and transportation costs of specific neighborhoods and addresses), I and the majority of my Highland Park neighbors spend 51% of our incomes on housing and 16% towards transportation, for a combined total of 67% of our earned incomes. With those percentages, we join the other 25.9% of Los Angelinos who spend more than half of our incomes on housing costs, according to a report by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. HUD defines affordable as families who pay 30% or less of their income on housing. But what do these numbers have to do with an individual’s health?

Read the full update here