University of California


Refinery Collaborative Memo
(October 15, 2013)


LOHP Refinery Safety Meeting Report (June 2013)

Refinery Safety Report (June 2013)


OnEarth Magazine (Summer 2011)


Science Magazine (November 2009)


Environmental Health Perspectives
(August 2009)


Berkeley Science Review
(Winter 2009)


California Magazine (Summer 2008)


California EPA Report (2008)

Report to California EPA (January 2008)


UC Berkeley School of Public Health Magazine (Summer 2007)


California Out
in Front (EHP 2007)


California Legislature Report (2006)

Report to the California Legislature
(March 2006)

Michael P. Wilson, PhD, MPH

Michael P. Wilson, PhD, MPH

Chief Scientist
Office of the Director
California Department of Industrial Relations
Elihu Harris State Building, 17th Floor
1515 Clay Street
Oakland, CA 94612

CV (pdf)

California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR)
Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP)
Program in Green Chemistry and Chemicals Policy
Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry (BCGC)

Dr. Wilson is serving as Chief Scientist in the Office of the Director, California Department of Industrial Relations. DIR oversees state programs dedicated to protecting the health, safety and economic security of California’s 18 million workers. Dr. Wilson is supporting Director Christine Baker in a range of DIR efforts, including the Interagency Refinery Task Force, where he is working alongside Dr. Gina Solomon, also of COEH, now Undersecretary for Science and Health at California EPA.

Dr. Wilson is the former Director and Principal Investigator of UC Berkeley’s Labor Occupational Health Program. LOHP is one of the nation’s preeminent public University outreach programs to advance worker and community health and safety. Dr. Wilson also served as Associate Director for Integrative Sciences of the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry (BCGC), which involves students, faculty and researchers from the Colleges and Schools of chemistry, public health, natural resources, engineering, and business.

Dr. Wilson’s research and practice focus primarily on the intersection of occupational and environmental health sciences and policy in California, the U.S. and internationally, with emphasis on the chemical and oil refining sectors. He specializes in interdisciplinary approaches to problem-solving and in the development of strategic partnerships to improve health, safety and environmental practices in the high-hazard industries. He conducts technical work in exposure assessment and control, alternatives assessment, and emergency response.

Dr. Wilson earned a BA with Thesis Honors in Biology (1984) from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Master of Public Health (1998) in Industrial Hygiene from the University of California, Berkeley. He earned the PhD (2003) in Environmental Health Sciences from UC Berkeley, studying under Professor S. Katharine Hammond. Dr. Wilson is a graduate of the Trade Union Program at Harvard University (1995), the Projecto Linguistico Instituto Francisco Marroquin in Antigua, Guatemala (1987), and the Pre-Hospital Care Program at Stanford University (1986).

Dr. Wilson’s doctoral dissertation research demonstrated that exposure to n-hexane from the use of brake cleaning products was the cause of a disabling neurological disease among workers in the vehicle repair industry and was engendered, in part, by state policies to phase-out the use of chlorinated solvents. His research helped support interventions by the Occupational Health Branch of the California Department of Public Health (n-Hexane).

In 2007, Speaker of the Assembly John Pérez appointed Dr. Wilson to the California Biomonitoring Scientific Guidance Panel, where he continues to serve with distinction. He was appointed by the California EPA Secretary to the Green Chemistry Science Advisory Panel (2007) and to the Green Ribbon Science Panel (2009). His report to the California Legislature in 2006, (2006 report) and a 2008 report to Cal/EPA (2008 report) co-authored with Dr. Megan Schwarzman and UCLA colleagues, and signed by over 120 faculty from across the UC system, together with papers in Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) and Science (Science), explore the role of chemicals policy and the environmental health sciences in advancing green chemistry and the green economy. Collectively, this work informed the framing of the state’s Green Chemistry Initiative, as well as AB 1879 (Feuer-D, LA) and SB 509 (Simitian-D, Palo Alto) which resulted in the California Safer Consumer Products regulations and other policy actions.

In 2011, Dr. Wilson was named by UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal as one of the 45 most distinguished alumni to graduate from the campus since its founding in 1965 (

By invitation, Dr. Wilson provides testimony on occupational and environmental health and safety before various governmental bodies, including the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), the California Senate Environmental Quality Committee, the Assembly Health Committee, and Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials, the Assembly Resources Committee, and the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

  • Testimony before the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, April 19, 2013 on the matter of the Richmond, Chevron fire. [pdf]
  • Testimony before the joint Legislative hearing of Senator Hancock and Assemblymember Skinner, April 5, 2013 on the matter of the Richmond, Chevron fire. [pdf]
  • Testimony before the Cal/OSHA Standards Board, March 21, 2013, on the matter of California’s adoption of the Globally Harmonized System on Classification and Labeling. [pdf]

  • Testimony before the Assembly Health Committee and Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials, February 15, 2011 on the implementation of the California Green Chemistry Initiative. [pdf]
  • Testimony before the Assembly Health Committee, Committee on Natural Resources, and Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials, August 3, 2010, oversight hearing on the Safer Consumer Product Alternatives. [pdf]

From 1981—1996, Dr. Wilson worked in the Central Coast area of California as an EMT, paramedic, firefighter-paramedic, and U.S. Coast Guard reserve crewman and coxswain; as a rank-and-file organizer and field representative for SEIU Local 250; as co-founder of the Central America Health Rights Project; and as an officer with Salinas Firefighters IAFF Local 1270, AFL-CIO. He presently serves as a Hazardous Materials Specialist for FEMA Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) California Task Force 4, hosted by the Oakland Fire Department (TF-4).


Interview on KNTV-TV NBC 11 Bay Area News Investigation San Jose Fire Department to Investigate Cancer Station, November 11, 2013.

Interview on KHSU's Econews with Jessica Hall, speaking on the California Safer Consumer Products Regulations, October 24, 2013:

Interview on KQED's Forum with Michael Krasny, speaking on the California Safer Consumer Products Regulations, October 2, 2013

OnEarth Magazine feature article, Pure Chemistry, by Laura Wright Treadway

Keynote address before the General Session of the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exhibition, May 17, 2011.
Full text of speech | EHS Today article

National Public Radio report, Living on Earth, featuring the work of Dr. Wilson and his colleagues in forming the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry:

UC Berkeley video on the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry

Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry video


Scruggs, Ortolano, Schwarzman, Wilson (2014). The Role of Chemical Policy in Improving Supply Chain Knowledge and Product Safety. J. Env Studies and Sciences.4:132-141

Kokai, Schwarzman, Wilson. (2013) Choosing Metrics For Bioaccumulation and Persistence in Chemical Assessment for Cleaner Production. Submitted to Environmental Health, November 2013.

Wilson M (2013) Collaborative Memo on the July 2013 Draft Report of the Interagency Working Group on Refinery Safety, Improving Public and Worker Safety at Oil Refineries, Oct 15, 2013. [pdf]

Wilson M (2013) Refinery Safety in California: Labor, Community and Fire Agency Views. (June 4, 2013) Commissioned by the Governor’s Interagency Working Group on Refinery Safety. [pdf]
UC Berkeley press release:
Epoch TimesDanger Increases at US Oil Refineries, August 13, 2013

Maguire S, Iles A, Matus K, Mulvihill M, Schwarzman M, Wilson M (2013). Bringing new meaning to molecules by integrating green chemistry and the social sciences. In: World Social Science Report 2013: Changing Global Environments. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
OECD World Social Science Report
OECD Chapter

Wilson M, Schwarzman M (2013) International Chemicals Policy, Health, and Human Rights. In: Textbook of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 5th Edition, Ladou and Harrison, Eds. (In press).

Wilson M. (2012) In the Arc of History: AIHA and the Movement to Reform the Toxic Substances Control Act. J. Occ Env Hygiene, 9(5):D87-94 [pdf]

Wilson M, Madison H, Healy S. (2012) Confined Space Emergency Response: Assessing Employer and Fire Department Practices. J. Occ Env Hygiene, 9(2), 120-128 [pdf]
UC Berkeley press release:

Wilson M, Chia D, Ehlers B (2012) Green Chemistry in California: A Framework for Leadership in Chemicals Policy and Innovation. In: From Critical Science to Solutions: The Best of Scientific Solutions, Richard Clapp, Ed. New York: Baywood.

Schwarzman M, Wilson M. (2011) Reshaping Chemicals Policy on Two Sides of the Atlantic: The Promise of Improved Sustainability Through International Collaboration. In Transatlantic Regulatory Cooperation: The Shifting Roles of the EU, the US and California, Jo Swinnen, Editor. Edward Elgar Publications, United Kingdom.

Schwarzman M, Wilson M. (2009) New Science for Chemicals Policy. Science 326. 1065-1066. 20 Nov.[pdf]

Demou E, Hellweg S, Wilson M, Hammond SK, and McKone. (2009) Evaluating Indoor Exposure Modeling Alternatives for LCA: A Case Study in the Vehicle Repair Industry. Environ. Sci. Technol. 43. 5804–5810 [pdf]

Hughes J, Legrande D, Zimmerman J, Wilson M, Beard S. (2009) Green Chemistry and Workers. New Solutions 19(2) 239-253. [pdf]

Wilson M and Schwarzman M. (2009) Toward a New U.S. Chemicals Policy: Rebuilding the Foundation to Advance New Science, Green Chemistry, and Environmental Health. Env Health Persp 177(8) 1202-1209.[pdf]

Wilson M and Kirschner M. (2008)  Policy Developments in the United States Related to Chemicals and Electronic Waste. In Governance, Risk and Compliance Handbook: Technology, Finance, Environmental, and International Guidance and Best Practices, Anthony Tarantino, Ed. ISBN: 978-0-470-09589-8, Wiley & Sons. [link]

Wilson M, Madison H. (2008) Protecting Workers in Industrial Confined Spaces. Report to the Los Angeles District Attorney and the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board. Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley. [pdf]

Wilson M, Schwarzman M, Malloy T, Fanning E, Sinsheimer P. (2008) Green Chemistry: Cornerstone to a Sustainable California. Special Report to the California Environmental Protection Agency. University of California Centers for Occupational and Environmental Health. [pdf]
UC Berkeley press release:
Cal/EPA press release: [pdf]

Wilson M, Hammond SK, Hubbard A, Nicas M.  (2007) Worker exposure to volatile organic compounds in the vehicle repair industry.  J Occ and Env Hyg. May(4) 301-310 [pdf]

Wilson M, Chia C, Ehlers B. (2006) Green Chemistry in California: A Framework for Leadership in Chemicals Policy and Innovation. Special Report to the California Senate Environmental Quality Committee and Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials. University of California, California Policy Research Center. [pdf]
Legislative Brief: [pdf]
UCB press release

Awards, Honors, Recognition

Named one of 45 Most Distinguished Alumni, 1965-2010 Office of the Chancellor, UC Santa Cruz 2010
Environmental Leadership Award Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation  2010
Helen Clark Memorial Award in Occ and Env Health  Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition  2009
Environmental Leadership Award Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation  2009
Environmental Sciences Fellowship  Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation  2003
Robert Legge Memorial Award  American Industrial Hygiene Association, NCS 2002
James Keogh Memorial Award American Public Health Association 2000
Bernard D. Tebbens Memorial Award American Industrial Hygiene Association, NCS 1998
Industrial Toxicology Award Environmental Health Sciences, UC Berkeley  1997
Industrial Occupational Safety Scholarship Semiconductor Industry Safety Association  1997
Industrial Occupational Safety Scholarship National Safety Council  1997
Distinguished Union Service Award  International Association of Firefighters Local 1270 1996
Harvard University Trade Union Program Scholarship  International Association of Firefighters   1995
Honorable Discharge U.S. Coast Guard 1986