Staff Scientist - Toxic Exposures

  • Earthjustice
  • Feb 12, 2020
Full time Biology - Ecology EHS - Environmental, Health & Safety Environmental Science - Engineering Hazardous Waste - RCRA -Toxics Research Water Quality

Job Description

Earthjustice is hiring a Staff Scientist who will focus on policy advocacy to reduce toxic exposures. 

This position can be based in New York, NY or Washington, DC. 

The Healthy Communities program is at the heart of Earthjustice’s mission to defend the right of all people to a healthy environment. This program encompasses work on preventing exposure to toxics in air, water, consumer products, food, and the built environment, as well as related domestic and international issues.

The Scientist will work across many disciplines to help develop innovative strategies designed to identify and reduce exposures to toxic chemicals, such as drinking water contaminants and pesticides. These include, for example, strategies to: develop the factual basis for obtaining stronger regulation of toxic substances in all media; ensure scientifically rigorous assessments of hazard, exposure, and risk under environmental and public health laws; support the elimination of toxic chemicals and additives in food and food packaging; identify hazards and exposures from petrochemical production and use; and pioneer development of leading-edge laws and policies that can serve as models for states and the federal government. The Scientist will help advance these policies through litigation and policy advocacy at the federal and state levels.

Responsibilities include:

  • Conduct scientific and technical research to help design and guide policy advocacy, and support litigation.
  • Evaluate the scientific and technical bases for potential new cases or issues, developing research strategies in areas new to the team.
  • Identify and collaborate with individuals and organizations with relevant scientific and technical expertise.
  • Supervise science fellows and interns.
  • Manage scientific and technical consultants.
  • Draft client and expert declarations.
  • Testify on proposed legislation.
  • Review, analyze, and summarize case-related scientific documents and information, as well as more general environmental planning documents, technical support documents, scientific studies, and other scientific and technical information to support legal strategies.
  • Draft and submit formal requests to agencies for public records.
  • Communicate and participate in meetings with clients, experts, coalition partners, donors, trustees, elected officials, and government agencies.
  • Conduct quantitative data analyses.
  • Present at scientific conferences and meetings, and in university courses.
  • Build scientific and technical records on rulemakings that may be subject to Earthjustice litigation, including drafting comment letters.
  • Draft and fact-check scientific and technical information in fact sheets, press releases, blogs, news articles, slides, reports, and other materials for internal use or external use with clients, coalitions, the media, and others.
  • Draft scientific and technical portions of pleadings.
  • Conduct internal trainings on scientific and technical issues relevant to Earthjustice cases, e.g., quantitative risk assessment.
  • Identify, collaborate, develop, and manage relationships with individuals and organizations with relevant scientific and technical expertise.
  • Assist litigation operations team with coordination and maintenance of key research databases and scientific resource needs.
  • Conduct outreach to potential and existing client groups, including from diverse and/or under-served communities.
  • Contribute to and participate in strategic planning and internal team-building and coordination efforts.


  • Doctoral or Master’s Degree in in environmental health, epidemiology, toxicology, exposure sciences, or a related scientific field.
  • At least 5 years of experience in scientific research.
  • Experience with human health and/or ecological risk assessment preferred.
  • Exceptional scientific ability manifested both in a specific area and in the ability to work in areas outside of one’s core expertise; i.e. both have a specific relevant expertise and be an excellent scientific generalist (quick study; good communicator; broad general knowledge).
  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills.
  • Excellent ability to perform quantitative data analysis.
  • Excellent ability to understand factual, scientific, technical, economic, historical, and policy aspects of issues and quickly and transfer this knowledge to attorneys in a coherent and non-technical fashion.
  • Excellent Internet and traditional research and computer skills, including advanced knowledge of Microsoft Excel or at least one statistical programming language (e.g., Stata).
  • Excellent ability to interact effectively with clients, experts, coalition partners, elected officials, and government staff, including government scientists.
  • Attention to detail, and comfort in working with deadlines.
  • Outstanding organizational skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work in a team, and also the ability to work independently.
  • Demonstrates an awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds and orientations.
  • Contributes to the creation of a diverse, equitable and inclusive work culture that encourages and celebrates differences.

Salary depends on experience (DOE) and location.

Salary range for New York, NY $86,400-$96,000.
Salary range for Washington, DC $82,100-$91,200.

We offer a mission- and employee-focused work environment and a competitive compensation package, including excellent benefits.  Earthjustice is an equal opportunity employer and highly values diversity.

Application Procedure: 

Interested candidates should submit the following documents and indicate which role, and what location you are interested in:

  • One or two page cover letter that addresses each of the following: (1) Which specific role are you interested in and location; (2) aspects of your background that are relevant to the qualifications listed above; (3) why you are drawn to Earthjustice’s mission and whether there are particular legal, environmental, or justice issues that inspire you; and (4) how your time at Earthjustice would contribute to your career aspirations.
  • Writing sample
  • List of three references.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. 

Please reach out to if you are having technical difficulties submitting your application.  No phone calls, drop-ins, or hard copies.

Earthjustice is driven by a passion for justice, partnership and excellence.  Our core values lead us to seek a broad range of perspectives and backgrounds to achieve our mission and to maintain an inclusive environment where all staff are valued and respected.  As an equal opportunity employer, we are committed to employment practices that ensure that employees and applicants for employment are provided with equal opportunities without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, religion, physical or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information or any other factor that is not related to the position.

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