John Froines, a UCLA professor emeritus who was a leader in ensuring that research influences policies to protect the public’s health and renowned as a member of the “Chicago 7,” has died from complications related to Parkinson’s disease. He was 83.
Froines, who died on July 13, joined the UCLA School of Public Health (as it was known then) in 1981 in the division of environmental and occupational health sciences. He served as department chair for four years in the 1990s and director of the UCLA Center for Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences for 20 years, from 1989 to 2009.
As a scientist and advocate, 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 Froines as an anti-war activist, member of the “Chicago 7,” and for his passion for social justice. He 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 and stand up to corporate and other economic interests.
Froines’ service during his years at UCLA Fielding extended beyond campus. As noted in a 2015 article, 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.
Read the full obituary about John Froines on the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health website.