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Pope A. Lawrence Papers 1924-1983
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Biography

Biographical Note

Pope A. Lawrence was born in 1912 in Yorktown, Texas. He graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. He then attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, completing a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering and Colloid Chemistry. Lawrence's interest in engineering led him to Harvard University, where he fulfilled the requirements for a Master of Science in Industrial Hygiene Engineering. His academic training in chemistry, biology, physical science and industrial hygiene prepared him for a number of duties with the U.S. Public Health Service as a commissioned officer. It was during this time, that he was assigned to Texas, New Mexico and Utah state health departments from 1942-1952, investigating issues on industrial and environmental health. During 1952-1961, he supervised a fifteen-year study on the health of American uranium miners for the National Cancer Institute. He also served as a specialist consultant in the areas of chemical warfare, industrial emissions of toxic chemicals (i.e., lead, gases, mercury arsenic, beryllium) while serving in the Office of the Surgeon General (1962-1964). While with the Office of the Surgeon General, he entered the EPA's Air Pollution Control Program to provide expertise on the control of hazardous materials associated with federal activities in high energy propellants and toxic weapons systems. As a scientist, he approached his projects with a methodical and research oriented background in highlight the health and safety hazards on the American worker. The federal government was concerned about these issues raised by the public and by the workers, encouraging Lawrence to become instrumental in helping to research and develop alternative ways to control these matters. As a result, he and his team of experts helped to write policies that would later impact on legislative decisions in state and federal areas to improve the safety and health issues of the American laborer.

Lawrence was a member of several professional affiliations and served on the boards of the American Industrial Hygiene Association and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.