Berkeley Scientist Climbs Mountains, Battles Harmful Chemicals

May 10, 2022
Three months after climbing Mount Everest in the 1970s, Arlene Blum confronted cancer-causing chemicals in children’s pajamas.

Berkeley scientist Arlene Blum has been embracing tough challenges for decades. In 1977, the adventurous Blum climbed Mount Everest, according to SFGate. Three months later, she published a paper warning about cancer-causing chemicals in children’s pajamas that reportedly led to a government ban on sleepwear treated with tris, a flame-retardant additive.

Blum, who led a history-making American Women's Himalayan Expedition in 1978 and co-led the first women's team to scale Denali in Alaska in 1970, more recently won top honors with the 2022 American Alpine Club, according to SFGate. At 77, she also continues to fight against toxic substances as founder and executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute, a Berkeley nonprofit with a mission to reduce harmful chemicals in people and the environment.

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