President Biden’s recent “Executive Order on Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All” expands the federal government’s focus on environmental justice (EJ) to include a “whole-of-government” approach and redefines the definition of EJ.  This Executive Order builds on the previous presidential action by President Clinton nearly 30 years ago, which defined EJ and outlined an agenda for addressing its effects in vulnerable communities.  That same agenda has been used by federal agencies ever since.  According to President Biden’s recent Executive Order, EJ is now defined as:

“The just treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of income, race, color, national origin, Tribal affiliation, or disability, in agency decision-making and other Federal activities that affect human health and the environment.”

The new EJ definition, which includes Tribal affiliation and disabilities, represents a more modern, action-oriented approach by the federal government to address environmental issues, including chemical exposures and climate change.  As the definition of EJ changes and evolves and federal agencies more fully incorporate EJ in their policies and practices, vulnerable communities considered to be overburdened with EJ concerns could also change and evolve.  Existing EJ tools that are used to map and screen for environmental and demographic socioeconomic indicators, such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) EJScreen and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST), will likely have to consider how to incorporate new EJ indicators, such as disabilities.

Along with a broadened EJ definition, the Executive Order could have impacts on federal rulemaking, regulations, programs, and practices. As agencies work to integrate EJ considerations into their missions, changes may be seen in permitting, compliance, monitoring, reporting, and enforcement. In addition, the Executive Order emphasizes an increased reliance on best available science and data to understand cumulative impacts and burdens.

Gradient scientists are staying on top of changes to regulations, guidance, and tools used to assess technical aspects of EJ-related issues to help our clients navigate the developing intersection between science and EJ policies and practices.  If you have questions about how the Executive Order and revised EJ definition may impact your operations, please contact Gradient.

Andrew Yeh has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Adopt A Stream Foundation (AASF), a non-profit organization in the State of Washington that focuses on environmental education (e.g., wildlife biology and ecology) and stream restoration (e.g., removing physical barriers for fish migrating through streams).

Gradient presenting at Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Europe 33rd Annual Meeting in Dublin, Ireland, April 30-May 4, 2023.  Poster presentations include:

Gradient is presenting at American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Workhop on Setting Acceptance Limits for Medical Device Cleaning Validation on May 9, 2023 in Denver, CO.

Andrew Yeh, Ph.D., DABT will serve as Senior Councilor in the Pacific Northwest Association of Toxicologists (PANWAT) for the 2023-2024 term.  PANWAT is a Regional Chapter of the Society of Toxicology.

Joel M. Cohen, Sc.D., DABT was elected to serve as ​Councilor of the SOT Computational Toxicology Specialty Section Executive Council.

Gradient Presenting on Environmental Justice and Semiconductor Product Stewardship at SESHA’s 45th Annual Symposium in Phoenix, Arizona, April 24-28, 2023.

Gradient’s 2023 SESHA Presentations: 

“When Molecules Fall Apart: Assessment of Chemicals that Dissociate”
Jessie M. Kneeland, Ph.D., Chase H. Butler, M.S., Ari S. Lewis, M.S.
4/26/23 @ 1:30 pm-2:00 pm

“Environmental Justice and Semiconductor Product Stewardship”
Ari S. Lewis, M.S.
4/26/23 @ 3:20 pm-3:50 pm


Gradient is presenting at Smithers Extractables and Leachables USA 2023 on May 17-18, 2023, in Washington, DC.

Gradient presenting at Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA) 116th Annual Conference & Exhibition. June 5-8, 2023. Orlando, FL.

Ari Lewis Invited to Serve on the US EPA Science Advisory Board Environmental Justice Screen Review Panel

Gradient scientist Ari Lewis appointed to US EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) EJScreen Review Panel

[March 20, 2023, Boston, MA] – The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) recently announced appointments to its Science Advisory Board (SAB) ad hoc review panel for EJScreen, its new environmental justice (EJ) screening and mapping tool.  Gradient scientist Ari Lewis, M.S., was selected to serve as one of nineteen panel members.

According to the US EPA Environmental Justice website, EJ is “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.”  The new EJScreen tool was developed to help US EPA meet its responsibilities toward EJ, by using the mapping and screening tool to access and compare valuable information about a specific area’s environmental and demographic socioeconomic indicators.  The SAB EJScreen Review Panel is an ad hoc panel of scientific experts chosen to provide input on the methodology, calculations, and other components of the tool.

See a list of the EJScreen Review Panel members here.

US EPA established the SAB “to provide independent scientific and technical advice to the EPA Administrator on the scientific and technical basis for agency positions and regulations” under the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act (ERDDAA).

Ari Lewis is a principal with expertise in toxicology and risk assessment.  She has applied her toxicology expertise across a wide range of chemical stewardship issues and is especially interested in cumulative risk assessment, which includes the consideration of non-chemical stressors (i.e., social factors) in vulnerable populations.

Please join us in congratulating Ari Lewis on this noteworthy service appointment!

Gradient LLC is an environmental and risk sciences consulting firm renowned for scientific excellence.  We provide cutting-edge risk sciences consulting services to design and strategize responsive and protective solutions to environmental and human health challenges.



About the US EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) and the SAB Staff Office

Keywords:  Gradient LLC, Ari S. Lewis, EPA, Science Advisory Board (SAB), EJScreen, Environmental Justice (EJ)