Headshot of Dr. Froines in office with photos and awards behind

A Tribute to John Froines

We sadly inform you of Dr. John Froines’ death on July 13 from complications related to Parkinson’s disease. Among his many extraordinary achievements, Dr. Froines directed the Office of Toxic Substances Standards at OSHA and served as deputy director of NIOSH before teaching 40 years at UCLA, where he directed UCLA COEH for 20 years, led the EPA Southern California Particle Center and Supersite for over a decade, and ran a NIH Fogarty International training program for 15 years. His bold, visionary leadership and sharp wit propelled significant public health standards to victory, protecting workers and communities across the U.S. and world.


We at UCLA COEH will miss Dr. Froines immensely. He is remembered by our faculty as a scientist of great esteem, a true public health hero, and to many of us a dear friend. His prolific mastery of grant writing in support of students, junior scientists, and communities burdened by pollution endures as a poignant model for how science can serve society. His legacy continues not only through the foundational research he conducted or landmark standards and programs he created, but also in the work of the countless people he taught, mentored, and encouraged during his time with us.


In his memoriam, The New York Times prepared this article and UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s tribute is below. We extend our deepest sympathies to Dr. Froines’ family and invite you to post notes of remembrance on this Kudoboard page, which will be shared with them.


UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Dear Colleagues,

It is with deep sadness that I share with you the news that Dr. John Froines, professor emeritus in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences, died on July 13 from complications related to Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Froines was a visionary researcher in environmental and occupational health, and a leader in ensuring that research influences policies to protect the public’s health. Over the course of his career in the field of toxicology and exposure assessment, Dr. Froines played a critical role in authoring and advancing environmental regulatory guidelines. His seminal contributions include development of federal standards for lead exposure and cotton dust exposure, as well as identification of diesel exhaust as a toxic air contaminant.

Many people around the world knew of Dr. Froines as an anti-war activist, member of the “Chicago 7,” and for his unwavering passion for social justice. Dr. Froines found a way to professionally blend his passion with his scientist prowess — a through line in his career was utilizing evidence-based research to stand with communities to promote public health.

Dr. Froines utilized his time in Washington D.C. as director of the Office of Toxic Substances for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to author landmark federal standards for cotton dust and lead. As noted in a 2015 UCLA FSPH magazine article, “The cotton dust standard helped to eliminate byssinosis, a respiratory disorder that affected workers in the textile industry. The lead standard, designed to protect workers from the neurologic effects associated with the occupational use of lead, was promulgated despite strong industry opposition.”

After leaving OSHA, Dr. Froines went on to the role of deputy director at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health before joining our school’s faculty in the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences in 1981. Dr. Froines served as chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences for four years in the 1990s and director of the UCLA Center for Occupational and Environmental Health for 20 years, from 1989 – 2009. Dr. Froines held numerous additional roles on our campus including his leadership of the UCLA Sustainable Technology and Policy Program, the UCLA Pollution Prevention Education and Research Center, and the UCLA FSPH Centers for Environmental Quality and Health. He also played an important role in the creation of UCLA FSPH’s interdepartmental program PhD in Molecular Toxicology.

Dr. Froines’ service during his years at UCLA Fielding extended far beyond our campus. Under his leadership of the California Scientific Review Panel on Toxic Air Contaminants in 1998, “the panel identified diesel exhaust as a carcinogenic air contaminant, setting the stage for California to become a world leader in regulating and reducing the health risks associated with exposure to diesel particulate.”

Throughout Dr. Froines’ career, he was recognized for his groundbreaking research and the manner in which he utilized his research to advocate for change. One of many examples of recognition for Dr. Froines’ work was in 2013 when he received the Collegium Ramazzini Award. The award recognized his global contributions in occupational and environmental health research and policy, and for him being a “public health hero.”

Dr. Froines collaborated with numerous UCLA Fielding faculty, students, staff, and graduates throughout his more than 40 years with our school. He will be greatly missed by all his colleagues and friends for his passion, purpose, kindness, and guidance.

We extend our deepest sympathies to Dr. Froines’ family and invite you to post notes of remembrance on this Kudoboard page, which will be shared with Dr. Froines’ family.


Ron Brookmeyer signature
Ron Brookmeyer, PhD
Distinguished Professor of Biostatistics
UCLA Fielding School of Public Health


image of factory smoke

‘She Coughs When She’s Sleeping’: Life In Polluted Pacoima

When Amanda Rivera was diagnosed with asthma as a child, everyone told her she’d grow out of it. Instead, Rivera feels like she grew into it.

“It just got worse as I got older,” Rivera said. “I’ve been to like so many doctors, specialists and no one has been able to get rid of the cough.”

For her whole life, Rivera has lived in the same house in the east San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Pacoima, a region with poor air quality in already smoggy L.A. county. Over the years, she’s accrued a tote bag-full of asthma equipment: daily inhalers, rescue inhalers, and nebulizer machines. For Rivera, asthma is just part of her routine.

“Lost cause,” she laughs, then inhales deeply to catch her breath.

Her younger brother, Aaron Ortiz, can’t remember his sister without the condition. It’s part of how he recognizes her.

“She’s always coughing. That’s how you know she’s home,” Ortiz said. “She coughs when she’s sleeping… she can’t laugh without coughing.”

Ortiz took a particular interest in his sister’s condition as a UC Santa Cruz environmental science student. For one class, he researched Pacoima’s history of redlining, industry and high rates of respiratory problems.

“It just hit me… that’s like describing my life,” Ortiz said.

His sister doesn’t hold it against her hometown’s air for possibly causing and likely exacerbating her asthma. But Ortiz definitely does.

“It’s like this weird pain and anger, knowing that, like, you and your family are statistics,” he said.

Pacoima Businesses Are Big Producers Of Chemicals

According to Michael Jerrett, a UCLA public health professor, Pacoima faces multiple challenges when it comes to air quality. For starters, the geography of the region, a valley, causes air-toxic chemicals, like nitrogen dioxide and ozone to settle near ground level. It’s like liquid in a bowl. That’s where small particles get into people’s lungs, where they can cause inflammation.

Read the full article at: https://laist.com/air-quality-pacoima-asthma

By Caroline Champlin originally published April 22, 2021

Picture by 小书生

COEH study links COVID-19 and traffic-related air pollution

A recent study led by UCLA COEH faculty, Drs. Michael Jerrett and Yifang Zhu, and COEH student awardee, Jonah Lipsitt, was published in Environment International. The study found that environmental factors such as air pollution may contribute to COVID-19 incidence and death. The team studied COVID-19 incidence and mortality in Los Angeles and found that chronic exposure to nitrogen dioxide exerts large effects on COVID-19 disease incidence and mortality. Neighborhoods with worse air quality also had the highest concentrations of Black and Latinx people, suggesting that environmental factors may have contributed to higher disease and mortality incidence among these populations.


To read the full article, visit https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412021001562?via%3Dihub

Graph showing emissions decrease

New study: California’s trailblazing diesel rules save lives

California’s trailblazing rules have cleaned up diesel exhaust more than anywhere else in the country, reducing the estimated number of deaths the state would have otherwise seen by more than half, according to new research published today.


The policy analysis, led by scientists at the University of California and state agencies, investigated how California’s efforts to clean up trucks, buses, ships and heavy equipment stacked up against the rest of the country’s policies over a 24-year stretch.

The report, published Thursday in the journal Science, shows that the state’s rules have led to substantial improvements even as diesel fuel use has increased and California’s economy and population has grown.

“When I started doing this work 20 years ago, it just seemed daunting to think that you could make a change in air pollution. It just seems so intractable,” said study author Álvaro Alvarado, a scientist at California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment who previously worked at the state Air Resources Board. “It is gratifying to know that your work has real impact.”


Michael Méndez, an assistant professor of environmental planning and policy at the University of California, Irvine, who was not involved in the research, commended the study and the progress it captured. “It was a really great example of how California is continuing to be a global leader around climate change and public health,” said Méndez, author of Climate Change from the Streets.

Still, he said, there’s more work to be done to clear California’s air.

“It’s never enough. California can always do better,” he said, particularly when it comes to protecting people in disadvantaged communities near ports, freeways and other sources of diesel pollution.

Because California still has the worst air quality in the nation, it faces the biggest challenge to meet federal health standards and has led the way in pioneering rules to cut soot and smog.


It is the only state that has the authority under the Clean Air Act to set its own emission standards for cars and trucks. The Trump administration revoked the state’s power to regulate greenhouse gases from passenger vehicles, but President Joe Biden is expected to restore it.

Tracking diesel pollution from 1990 to 2014, the researchers found that federal policies requiring cleaner-burning engines and fuels for trucks, buses, trains, ships and heavy equipment cut diesel particulates nationwide by 51%.

But California, the nation’s biggest diesel polluter, cut emissions by 78% percent, despite a 20% increase in diesel fuel use, the study reported. That means California’s engines were burning cleaner.

Diesel exhaust contains an array of pollutants, including fine particles that can lodge in lungs and travel into the bloodstream. These tiny pieces of soot and other materials can trigger heart and asthma attacks, and are linked to lung cancer.

The researchers report that excess deaths from heart and lung disease linked to diesel pollution dropped by 82% in California during that time. The team estimates that if the state had followed federal rules only, diesel particles would have contributed to the deaths of 1,330 Californians in 2014 — more than double the estimated total of 596. (The figures are projections, based on studies that link pollutant levels to increased premature deaths.)

That’s probably an underestimate of the benefits, the researchers say. Diesel exhaust is also a carcinogen, and the team did not investigate deaths from cancer or the general lung health of people who grew up inhaling the fug of diesel around freight corridors.

“We’ve given one little snapshot of one type of impact of diesel particulate matter,” said Megan Schwarzman, a physician and environmental health scientist at the University of California Berkeley.

Michael Jerrett, a professor of environmental health sciences at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health who was not involved in the study, said “the argument is quite convincing.”

Multiple authors of the study work for state agencies and one, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, is a member of the California Air Resources Board. But Jerrett said he’s “not very concerned” about their roles influencing the analysis.

Read the full story at: https://www.abc10.com/article/news/local/california/calmatters/new-study…

By Rachel Becker originally published March 25, 2021

Graph comparing different face coverings

Assessing the effectiveness of various face coverings to mitigate transport of airborne particles produced by coughing indoors

Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 1:00pm ET / 10:00 am PT

Assessing the effectiveness of various face coverings to mitigate transport of airborne particles produced by coughing indoors

We know exposure to respiratory droplets has contributed greatly to the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding the effectiveness of different face coverings against the outward transport of respiratory droplets in the indoor environment is particularly important to help curb transmission.

In this talk, Liqiao Li will discuss the findings and implications from investigating the effectiveness of six face coverings compared to no face covering in reducing cough-generated airborne particles.

Introducing the AAAR Lecture Series

This new initiative, supported by the Sheldon K. Friedlander Memorial Fund, and with the Editors of AS&T, will feature a high-impact paper, selected by the Editors of AS&T, to be presented by its author live, webinar-style, monthly igh-impact paper presented by its author live, webinar-style, monthly. Each Lecture will be recorded and available on-demand following the live webinar.

With this new program, being launched by the Endowment Committee, AS&T Editorial Office, and the Early Career Committee, AAAR aims to highlight the research in our community, tie our Journal to other AAAR activities, and provide an opportunity to bring our membership together outside of the Annual Conference. One way we’re achieving this is by engaging with AAAR’s Student Chapters from across the nation to serve as hosts. A different Student Chapter will be the host each month and will take part in a Journal Club of their design, where they meet ahead of each Lecture to discuss the paper to be presented.