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Nicholas Ashford

Professor of Technology and Policy
School of Engineering

Nicholas Ashford is Professor of Technology and Policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he teaches courses in Environmental Law, Policy, and Economics; Law, Technology, and Public Policy; and Sustainability, Trade and Environment.  He is director of the Technology and Law Program at MIT. Dr. Ashford is a Faculty Associate of the Center for Technology, Policy and Industrial Development in the School of Engineering; the Institute for Work and Employment Research in the Sloan School of Management; and the Environmental Policy Group in the Urban Studies Department.  He holds both a Ph.D. in Chemistry and a Law Degree from the University of Chicago, where he also received graduate education in Economics.  Dr. Ashford also is visiting scientist in Occupational and Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health and teaches intensive courses in Sustainable Development, and European & International Environmental Law at Cambridge University, UK and at the Cyprus University of Technology.

Dr. Ashford is the co-author of two recent textbooks/readers: Technology, Globalization, and Sustainable Development: Transforming the Industrial State (2011, Yale University Press) and Environmental Law, Policy and Economics: Reclaiming the Environmental Agenda (2008, MIT Press).  He also authored a major policy work for the Ford Foundation, Crisis in the Workplace: Occupational Disease and Injury, (1976, MIT Press). He co-authored four additional books: Public Participation in Contaminated Communities, (2001): Chemical Exposures: Low Levels and High Stakes (second edition 1998, John Wiley Press); Technology, Law and the Working Environment (second edition 1996, Island Press); and Monitoring the Worker for Exposure and Disease (1990, John Hopkins University Press). He has published several hundred articles in peer-reviewed journals and law reviews.

Dr. Ashford was a public member and chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety & Health, served on the EPA Science Advisory Board, and was chairman of the Committee on Technology Innovation & Economics of the EPA National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology.  Dr. Ashford is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and former chair of its Section on Societal Impacts of Science and Engineering.  He served as an advisor to the United Nations Environment Programme and is also a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Cleaner Production, the Journal of Environmental Technology and Management, the Journal of Environmental Policy & Governance, and Environmental Innovation & Societal Transitions, He currently serves as co-chair of the US-Greece Council for the Initiative on Technology Cooperation with the Balkans.

Dr. Ashford's research interests include sustainability, trade and environment; regulatory law and economics; the design of government policies for encouraging both technological innovation, and improvements in health, safety and environmental quality; pollution prevention and cleaner/inherently safer production; labor's participation in technological change; and environmental justice.  He has developed methodologies for decision-making in the regulation of chemicals and has extensively investigated the effects of regulation on technological innovation in the chemical, pharmaceutical, and automobile industries. Dr. Ashford's research include work for the United Nations Environment Programme, the OECD, and the European Union, as well as for U.S. regulatory agencies and the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment. 


“Government Regulation of Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety in the United States and the European Union” Nicholas A. Ashford and Charles C. Caldart in Occupational and Environmental Health: Recognizing and Preventing Disease and Injury, 6th ed. Barry S. Levy, David H. Wegman, Rosie Sokas, and Sherry Baron (eds.), Oxford University Press 2010.

“The Legacy of The Precautionary Principle In U.S. Law: The Rise of Cost-Benefit Analysis and Risk Assessment as Undermining Factors in Health, Safety and Environmental Protection” in Nicolas de Sadeleer (ed.), Implementation the Precautionary Principle: Approaches from the Nordic Countries. the EU and the United States Earthscan: London, 2007. 

“Negotiated Regulation, Implementation and Compliance in the United States”, Nicholas A. Ashford and Charles C. Caldart inThe Handbook of Environmental Voluntary Agreements, Euoardo Croci (ed.), Dordrecht, Springer – Environmental and Policy Series, 2005 (43): 135-159. 
"Multiple Chemical Intolerance and Indoor Air Quality", C. S. Miller and N. A. Ashford in Indoor Air Quality Handbook, J. Spengler, J. M. Samet, and J. F. McCarthy (Eds.), McGraw-Hill, New York, 2000, chapter 27, 32 pages. 

“The Importance of Regulation-Induced Innovation for Sustainable Development” N. A. Ashford and R. P. Hall (2011). Sustainability 3(1): 270-292.

“Rethinking the Role of Information in Chemicals Policy: Implications for TSCA and REACH”, Lars Koch and Nicholas A. Ashford, Journal of Cleaner Production 14(1): 31-46 2006. Revised version published in Environmental Law Network International 2(2005):22-37.
“Scientific, Ethical and Legal Challenges in Work-Related Genetic Testing in the United States,” Eur. J. Oncol. Library, 4: 33-59, 2005.

“The Crisis in U.S. and International Cancer Policy” S. S. Epstein, N. A. Ashford, B. Blackwelder, G. Cohen, E. Goldsmith, A. Mazzocchi, and Q. D. Young, International Journal of Health Services, 32(4): 669-707, 2002. 

"Low-level Chemical Sensitivity: Current Perspectives" International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 1996. 68:367-376.

"Monitoring the Worker and the Community for Chemical Exposure and Disease: Legal and Ethical Considerations in the U.S."Clinical Chemistry, 40/7B Supplement,  pp. 1426-1437, July 1994
"Law and Science Policy in Federal Regulation of Formaldehyde," Nicholas A. Ashford, William C. Ryan and Charles C. Caldart, in Science, 25 November 1983, Volume 222, pp. 894-900.


Nicholas Ashford

Nicholas A. Ashford
Professor of Technology and Policy
School of Engineernig

Phone: +1 617 253-1664
Fax: +1 617 452-2265


MIT Sloan
MIT School of Science
MIT School of Humanities