Sandra Steingraber (b.1959) is an American biologist and author who writes and campaigns on environmental issues especially to eliminate the use of carcinogenic chemicals in the environment. A cancer survivor herself, she advocates for increased public awareness and political action on, and greater medical research resources to be devoted to, the role of toxic chemicals in the relationship between environmental factors and cancer.
Steingraber has been hailed as the “new Rachel Carson” (see day 1 of this blog series). Since the publication of her 1997 book, Living Downstream, and subsequent documentary film of the same name, she has received numerous accolades and awards both for her success in communicating and making accessible to the public the scientific research on this topic, and for her political advocacy and campaign work.
As a result of her direct action trying to protect wild areas from contamination and industrialisation in the United States she has served some weeks in prison, through refusal to pay fines on charges of trespass and disorderly conduct.
Her work makes the connections between the environment and human rights. Steingraber is also campaigning for continued concerted action on climate change and to prevent the spread of fracking, the extraction of shale gas by hydraulic fracture.
“From the right to know and the obligation to inquire flows the duty to act”
Sandra Steingraber ( Living Downstream 2nd ed)