Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired: Leveraging Law to Facilitate Citizen Epidemiology

Across the country, threats to human health and the environment have become a common reality: chemical and oil refinery explosions in populated areas of Louisiana and neighborhoods in Houston; trains transporting oil ablaze in North Dakota, resulting in the evacuation of towns; and the chemical spill in West Virginia shutting down the water supply to more than three million people. 

Communities are seeking answers and accountability for the harm that industrial toxins cause—from lives destroyed in accidents to life-threatening disease clusters that show up years later. In the shadow of industries’ and governments’ slow responses, communities are developing “citizen science”—new strategies to force recognition of the harm done.

On Monday, February 10, Brooklyn Law School’s Center for Health, Science and Public Policy and the Sarah Lawrence College Health Advocacy Program will co-sponsor a roundtable discussion that brings together community groups, environmental justice advocates, and leading academics to discuss the role of “citizen scientists,” and the strategies that residents can use when local, state, and federal government fail to hold polluters accountable. 

Roundtable participants include: Peggy M. Shepard, Executive Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice; Dan Fagan, author of Toms River and Director of the Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University; Phil Brown, Director, Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute at Northeastern University and Co-Director of the Contested Illnesses Working Group at Brown University; Rebecca Johnson, Graduate Faculty, Health Advocacy Program at Sarah Lawrence College; and Gregg Macey, Associate Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School;  among others.

Come join the discussion on February 10, from 1–5 p.m. at the Brooklyn Law School Subotnick Center, 250 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, NY.  The event is free and open to the public. To register and learn more, visit:

For questions or more information, contact:

Peggy Swisher, Brooklyn Law School
(718) 780-0350

Crystal Greene, Sarah Lawrence College
(914) 395-2602