Peter Raynor, PhD
Professor, Division of Environmental Health Sciences
University of Minnesota School of Public Health
During high school and college, I worked at a non-union supermarket. I was required to carry out duties such as cleaning restrooms and the bakery, placing fluorescent bulbs in a garbage crusher and cleaning up the mercury-contaminated glass afterwards, and climbing ladders to hang holiday decorations. In emergency situations, I extinguished a car fire and confronted shoplifters. I received no substantive health and safety training, nor training on hazardous substances, and yet I was placed into these potentially hazardous situations. It was not until many years afterward that I discovered that I should not have been in these situations without proper training. It is my personal goal to make sure that other workers are not placed in similar situations.
The Midwest Consortium for Hazardous Waste Worker Training (MWC) develops and implements awareness and preparedness programs for workers at hazardous waste sites and at treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDF); for emergency responders; and for underserved communities. My background and experience make me uniquely-suited to assume the Principal Investigator role with the MWC. I was trained in chemical engineering as an undergraduate and in environmental sciences and engineering as a graduate student. My education provided me with a fundamental understanding of the behavior of chemicals in the ambient and workplace environments. As a faculty member, my research and teaching interests revolve around the assessment and control of workplace exposures, especially those involving aerosol particles. I have extensive experience with hazardous substances, air filtration, ventilation, nanotechnology health and safety, personal protective equipment, respiratory protection, bacterial and viral aerosols, metalworking fluids, and agricultural pollutants.
Since coming to Minnesota, I have provided a variety of adult-based worker training to groups, such as:
- Hazardous chemical science reviews for the North Suburban Hazardous Materials Response Team, Falcon Heights, MN and Vadnais Heights, MN
- Hazard awareness training for Leech Lake Reservation solid waste workers, Bena, MN and Cass Lake, MN
- “Chemical and Radiological Hazard Awareness” training for public health workers at the Milwaukee-Waukesha County Consortium for Emergency Public Health Preparedness, Cudahy, WI
- Training for local public health workers titled “Protecting the Public Health Worker: Personal Protective Equipment Including Respiratory Protection”, Alexandria, MN, Glencoe, MN, and Willmar, MN
With funding from the NIEHS Superfund Research Program, I direct the Midwest Emerging Technologies Public Health and Safety (METPHAST) Program, which develops innovative web-based training materials related to the occupational and environmental health and safety of emerging technologies such as nanotechnology, green chemistry, e-waste, and additive manufacturing. In an administrative capacity, I serve as the Director of the University of Minnesota Industrial Hygiene Program.