Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Fred Strohl (strohlhf@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


ORNL's Norris receives ASTM Award of Recognition

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., March 4, 1996 — Dr. James C. Norris Jr., a toxicologist in Health Sciences Research Division at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), recently received the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM ) 1995 Award of Recognition for Leadership of Subcommittee E05.21 (Smoke and Combustion Products).

Norris received the award for his leadership of the E05.21 subcommittee by putting into place the standards for determining smoke toxicity, which relates to how victims die from the type of gases they breathe in a fire. He has worked with the ASTM committee E05 since 1986.

He served as the E05.21 subcommittee secretary for six years and as the E05.21 subcommittee chairman for the last four years. During this time, Norris and the subcommittee members have been working with the standardization process of smoke toxicity. Their efforts were acknowledged recently when the first United States standard on combustion toxicity was approved.

"Building authorities now have an ASTM standard on combustion toxicity to adopt into their building codes," Norris said, "This adoption could require designated building manufacturers to have their products tested for fire toxicants before being used in construction."

He became interested in the field of smoke toxicity in the late 1980s because his employer at that time, Weyerhaeuser Company, was heavily involved in the area of fire sciences. "Then the opportunity came along to become secretary of the E05.21 subcommittee," he said.

Norris earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Montevallo (Alabama) and his master's degree in chemistry from the University of Mississippi in Oxford. He obtained his doctorate in pharmacology/toxicology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 1983 in Jackson.

Until he joined Biomedical and Environmental Information Analysis in HSRD in 1995, Norris was a toxicologist with Union Carbide Corporation at Bushy Run Research Center where he worked for five years. Currently, his responsibilities at ORNL are in the area of human health risk analysis with special interest in inhalation and neurotoxicology.

Coinciding with his career in fire and smoke toxicity, Norris has received other awards of recognition and is a member of such organizations as the International Standardization Organization, National Fire Protection Association, Society of Toxicology and serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Fire Sciences.

Norris lives in Oak Ridge with his wife, Mary Jo and children, Audra, age 11, Carlton, age 5, and Devon, age 3.

ORNL, one of DOE's multiprogram national research and development facilities, is managed by Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corp.