George M. Rusch ’63 recently received a plaque from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency honoring “10 years of outstanding contribution” to the National Advisory Committee for the Development of Acute Exposure Guideline Levels for Hazardous Substances.
He is director of toxicology and risk assessment for Honeywell International, based in Morristown, N.J.
A chemistry major at HWS, he was also a member of Schola Cantorum and the staffs of The Herald and the Echo and Pine. He received a master's degree from City College of New York in 1967 and his doctorate from Adelphi University in 1971. He is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology.
After the 1984 tragedy in Bhopal, India, an industrial accident in which tons of toxic chemicals were released, killing thousands of people, many recognized the need to define safe, toxic and potentially lethal levels for chemical exposure that might be predicted to occur in the event of another accidental release. The expectation was that these values could be used by emergency responders to provide guidance in the event of either a chemical accident or terrorist action.
Rusch was chosen for this Emergency Response Planning Committee, which he chaired for five years. The committee has provided guidance on more than 150 chemicals to date.
In the mid-1990s, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decided to develop a similar program, called the Acute Exposure Guideline Level Committee for Hazardous Substances. Rusch served as voluntary chair of this committee from 1997 to 2007; it has thus far completed reviews on more than 200 dangerous chemicals and provided guidance values for them all. These values are used by emergency response teams through out the world.
Rusch was recently invited to participate when the European Union started to develop a similar program. Over the past 20 years, Rusch has been recognized for his leadership in this area.