The goals that the Center for Science and Democracy espouses—independent science, an informed and empowered public, engaged scientists—come to life when we view them through the lens of critical challenges that people, scientists, and policymakers are grappling with here and now. Below are some of the issues the Center has focused on to date.

Chemical safety

Advances in chemical science and engineering have brought many benefits to Americans, but also serious risks—health risks from exposure to toxic chemicals in the air and water, in the workplace, and in household products, as well as safety risks for communities living near chemical facilites. Thanks to relentless pressure from the chemical industry, the US government has historically done a poor job of protecting the public from chemical hazards.

Learn more:


Hydraulic fracturing—commonly known as fracking—and other forms of unconventional oil and gas extraction have grown rapidly in recent years, and scientific knowledge of these technologies’ impacts has not always kept pace. This has created challenges for communities trying to balance potential economic benefits against health and environmental risks. Meanwhile, laws and regulations governing fracking vary widely from state to state, while the federal government has mostly stood on the sidelines.

Learn more:


Though it has succeeded in producing abundant calories, our food system has failed to give all Americans adequate access to a healthy diet, and the resulting epidemic of obesity and chronic metabolic disease is exacting huge costs, both economic and human. The Center is working with the UCS Food and Environment Program to help communities and scientists collaborate on getting communities the information they need to navigate our food system and have a voice in making that system a healthier one.

Learn more:

Emergency and disaster response

From hurricanes to chemical spills and explosions, the past decade has seen a series of disasters that have prompted serious questions about both the effectiveness of immediate response and the implications for long-term planning. Science can play a crucial role in helping communities respond effectively to these crises as they unfold, and in shaping policies to prevent and prepare for future emergencies. To make this happen, we need to break down barriers to communication and collaboration between scientists and local stakeholders. The Center is working with journalists, federal agencies and scientists to highlight the importance of this issue and to improve communication during crises.

Learn more:

We Need Your Support
to Make Change Happen

We can ensure that decisions about our health, safety, and environment are based on the best available science—but not without you. Your generous support helps develop science-based solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.