About


Joseph V. Rodricks is a founding Principal of RAMBOLL, a technical consulting firm, and was a visiting professor at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health from 1994 to 201. Environ was founded in 1982 by Dr. Rodricks and four other associates. Environ merged in 2014 with the Danish consultancy, Ramboll, and the new firm, Ramboll, has more than 10,000 employees in offices throughout the world. Dr. Rodricks is an internationally recognized expert in toxicology and risk analysis, and regulation in 18 countries. He has consulted for hundreds of manufacturers, government agencies and for the World Health Organization in the evaluation of health risks associated with human exposure to chemical substances of all types. Joseph came to consulting after a 15-year career as a scientist at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He entered the FDA after receiving degrees in chemistry (MIT), biochemistry (University of Maryland) and completing postdoctoral study at the University of California, Berkeley. In his last four years at the FDA, he served as Associate Commissioner for Health Affairs.

His experience extends from pharmaceuticals, medical devices, consumer products and foods, to occupational chemicals and environmental contaminants. He has served on the National Research Council’s Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, and on 40 boards and committees of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, including the committees that produced the seminal works Risk Assessment in the Federal Government: Managing the Process (1983); Science and Decisions–Advancing Risk Assessment (2009); and Guiding Principles for Developing Dietary Reference Intakes Based on Chronic Disease. He has nearly 150 scientific publications and has received honorary awards from four professional societies for his contributions to toxicology and risk analysis. He is the author of the widely-used text, Calculated Risks, now in its second edition, published by Cambridge University Press, and which was given an award from the American Medical Writer's Association.

Dr. Rodricks is also the author of a major work of fiction, Off Telegraph: A Novel of Berkeley in the Sixties. The lives of the story's many characters whirl about Berkeley's historic and colorful Telegraph Avenue, gateway to the great campus of the University of California. Off Telegraph will appeal to anyone interested in the real working lives of scientists, the political and cultural turbulence of the 1960's, and a plot that weaves those two worlds together in unexpected and endlessly suspenseful ways.

Books


Calculated Risks

Safeguarding economic prosperity, whilst protecting human health and the environment, is at the forefront of scientific and public interest. This book provides a practical and balanced view on toxicology, control, risk assessment and risk management, addressing the interplay between science and public health policy. This revised edition provides a detailed analysis on chemical and by-product exposure, how they enter the body and the suitability of imposed safety limits. Chapters on dose, with particular emphasis on children and vulnerable subpopulations, reproductive and developmental toxicants and toxicity testing are included. With updated and comprehensive coverage of international developments of risk management and safety, this will have broad appeal to researchers and professionals involved in chemical safety and regulation as well as the general reader interested in environmental pollution and public health.

Off Telegraph

After a long career in science, which has involved a great deal of science writing for general audiences, Joseph V. Rodricks has turned out a powerful work of fiction. OFF TELEGRAPH takes the reader into a working laboratory and into the minds of working scientists. It also offers the reader a suspenseful story of deception and psychological disintegration, and of a brilliant young scientist’s struggle to hold on to his ideals. PFAFFIDINE — a complex molecule from an exotic plant, with good potential as an anti-cancer drug. Will Getz’s research project involves finding a way to synthesize pfaffidine in the lab. After many failed attempts to complete the synthesis, Will, in a moment of weakness, devises a way to fake it. He is sure his fraudulent act cannot be uncovered, but its consequences soon began to emerge in unexpected ways. Will’s attempts to recover his integrity follow a twisted and tension filled path to a heart-wrenching climax. Will’s painful story plays out in the 1960s in Berkeley, California, center stage for the social and political turmoil of that era. His life intersects with those of many other extraordinary characters who in different ways, some truly insane, hope to remake the world. Among these are the two highly intelligent women in Will's life— the ambitious and sensuous Elaine and the passionate but sensitive Gina —who try to help Will defeat his demons, and by doing so uncover new truths about their own lives. This is a passionate and suspenseful novel that masterfully and intelligently explores the unclear boundaries between science and competing world views, and does so at a very human level.

Book Reviews


"Calculated Risks demystifies the science and policies of risk assessment. It has become a staple in risk education, and is essential reading for students and professionals in public health, environmental protection, and public policy."

— Thomas A. Burke, Johns Hopkins University

"...When the author starts playing with the idea that sometimes what's false may be true and what's true may be false, you get into the book. The poor protagonist, a Berkeley 60s version of Raskolnikov, commits a crime against science, then broods, and broods some more, so deeply entrenched is the scientific code in his brain and being. But when he morphs from scientific malefactor to scientific martyr, he has the greatest difficulty making either his crime or his confession stick.
So how does the book measure up to Allegra Goodman's best-seller, Intuition, which also is about scientific misconduct? On the one hand, it doesn't, but it might have, had an editor squeezed the bejesus out of it, and squeezed it again until it carbonized, and again till it sparkled. On the other hand, Allegra Goodman doesn't approach the variety of themes Rodricks introduces: the Catholic church, family, Cabalistic plots against science, food, sexuality, murder... well, have a look.
Off Telegraph has its problems, but even so as is it's a great read, a diamond in the rough."

— Philip Nolan

"Rodricks' book needs to be read by every medical scientist with any concern for public health issues as well as by environmental and food safety campaigners. It will sharpen debating skills enormously, broaden understanding of risk through chemicals and reveal not a few idiocies. Rodricks tells the scientists, the campaigners and the concerned citizens what they need to know. And they won't even need a dictionary. Dose-response curves, thresholds, environmental epidemiology and drug metabolism are all covered in simple and, at times, humorous terms. Toxicology is delightful - an art as well as science. Rodricks covers both."

— Simon Wolff, New Scientist Review

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