George V. Alexeeff, Ph.D., who served with distinction as Director of the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment until recently, died Monday evening after a brief illness.
Under Dr. Alexeeff’s leadership, OEHHA enhanced its national and international reputation for assessment of the health and environmental effects of hazardous substances. He was most proud of his work to mentor young scientists and inspire them to pursue careers in public service and environmental health.
“This is tragic news for us at CalEPA. George was a devoted scientist and public servant who believed deeply in our mission to protect public health, particularly when it came to the most vulnerable populations in California,” said California Secretary for Environmental Protection Matthew Rodriquez. “Because of George’s leadership, all Californians today enjoy greater health and environmental protections, and OEHHA is well positioned to meet the challenges ahead.”
Dr. Alexeeff was 61 years old. His accomplishments as Director of OEHHA included development of CalEnviroScreen, the nation’s first comprehensive environmental health screening tool, which can be used to help identify California communities that are disproportionately burdened by multiple sources of pollution and most vulnerable to their effects. He also led OEHHA’s efforts to revitalize the CalEPA Children’s Environmental Health Program, adopt the nation’s first public health goal for hexavalent chromium in drinking water, and propose significant reforms to the Proposition 65 warning process.
“George was a unique and extraordinarily talented individual, and a dynamic leader throughout his long tenure at OEHHA,” said OEHHA’s Acting Director, Lauren Zeise. “We will miss him greatly and draw inspiration from him as we continue our work to protect public health and the environment.” [read more]