A Salute to Andy Igrejas, a Leader for Safer Chemicals and Healthy Families

March 21, 2018
The John Merck Fund Trustees

This post is a tribute letter from the Trustees of the John Merck Fund, expressing their gratitude to Andy Igrejas, National Campaign Director of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition, for his “superb skills and devotion to mission” over years of effort for a safer, healthier world for all.

Statement in Recognition of Andy Igrejas from the John Merck Fund Trustees, March 16, 2018


The John Merck Fund has provided financial support to the field of environmental health for almost 30 years. The foundation's goal during those three decades has been to prevent diseases and health problems attributable to exposures to toxic chemicals in the environment and in consumer products.

The grant making strategy JMF deployed initially emphasized efforts at local and state levels to reduce specific toxic chemicals of key concern.

Ten years ago, in 2008, JMF raised its sights, emboldened by talented and committed public interest leaders to join them in realizing a much more ambitious goal: comprehensive federal reform of chemicals policy that would actually prevent disease while protecting the health of those most vulnerable among us -- the young and the economically disadvantaged.

No leader was more influential to JMF's decision than Andy Igrejas.

A seasoned campaigner who cut his teeth in New Jersey's hardscrabble political scene, Andy led the way to a much bigger vision of a future that is anchored in clean and healthy places for everyone to live, work and play.

During the next ten years, Andy created and held together a vast coalition of 450 diverse organizations and interest groups known as Safer Chemicals Healthy Families. That accomplishment alone required supreme skill, patience, and the ability to be tough when needed. Under Andy's leadership, the coalition became a formidable political force that could not be dismissed.

But Andy would be tested even further as chemical reform legislation was debated, negotiated and fought over year after year. There were innumerable attempts to undermine the bill's core intent. Votes were delayed time and time again. Throughout it all, Andy kept his focus on True North. And in the end, he and Safer Chemicals Healthy Families prevailed as President Obama signed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act into law in June 2016.

Because of Andy's superb skills and devotion to mission, people will live healthier lives, as will the abundant species that populate Planet Earth.

Andy Igrejas, the trustees of The John Merck Fund salute and thank you.

Your work has truly made the world a better place.

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