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Arlene Blum

Arlene BlumArlene Blum PhD, biophysical chemist, author, and mountaineer is a Visiting Scholar in Chemistry at UC Berkeley and executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute. The Institute brings government, industry, scientists and citizens groups together to support chemical policies to protect human health and the global environment.  Blum’s research and policy work has contributed to preventing the use of flame retardants and other harmful chemicals in children's sleepwear, furniture, electronics, and other products world-wide.  Her current “mountain,” which she considers her life’s most challenging and important, is to educate decision makers in industry and government to reduce the use of entire classes of harmful chemicals.

Arlene Blum led the first American—and all-women’s—ascent of Annapurna I, considered one of the world’s most dangerous and difficult mountains, co-led the first women’s team to climb Denali, completed the Great Himalayan Traverse across the mountain regions of  Bhutan, Nepal, and India, and hiked the length of the European Alps with her baby daughter on her back. She is the author of Annapurna: A Woman’s Place and Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life.

Blum’s awards include the 2015 Thomas Lamb Elliot Award for lifetime achievement of a  Reed College graduate, 2014 Wheeler Medal given to the city of Berkeley’s "most useful citizen”, and the  Jean and Leslie Douglas "Pearl Award" for individuals who despite great challenges, remain dedicated to providing a sustainable earth for future generations. She was selected by the UK Guardian as one of the world’s 100 most inspiring women, by the National Women’s History Project as one of 100 “Women Taking the Lead to Save Our Planet,” and as an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, and was elected to the Hall of Mountaineering Excellence. 

Arlene Blum received her PhD in Biophysical chemistry from UC Berkeley and has taught at UC Berkeley, Stanford University, and Wellesly College. More information at  and

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