Research Assistant

Job Announcement: Research Assistant  (Full Time Position in Oakland, CA)

The Organization



CEH protects people from toxic chemicals by working with communities, consumers, workers, government, and the private sector to demand and support business practices that are safe for public health and the environment. 


All people live, work, learn, and play in healthy environments. 


The Center for Environmental Health (“CEH”) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that protects people from toxic chemicals and promotes business practices that are safe for public health and the environment. We stop corporations from exposing people to toxic chemicals, we collaborate with leaders of responsible businesses and industry leaders, and we are committed to inclusive, community-led solutions that address environmental injustices in low-income communities and communities of color. 


CEH is an organization of committed, science-driven advocates who work together to keep short-sighted business interests from harming people in the name of short-term profits. We are proud of our work and are protective of our workplace community. We support each other, we work hard, we strike big wins for people’s health, and we have a pretty decent time doing it all! The people who join our team understand the effects of race, gender, class, poverty, wealth, labor, homophobia, and corporate hegemony on people’s health. We have offices in Oakland (headquarters) and in North Carolina’s Triangle Area. This position is located in the Oakland office.

Commitment to JEDI 

At CEH, striving for justice, diversity, equity and inclusion (“JEDI”) for all is critical to our mission and values. We know that having a team that is diverse in race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, ability, sexual orientation, age, background and opinions — and fostering inclusion among our team — is core to achieving our organizational goals. CEH strives to recruit talent from a diverse pool of candidates and ensure that those we hire are sufficiently supported so that they flourish. The organization wants everyone to not only have a seat at the table, but to know that their presence and input makes the organization stronger. 

Learn more about the Center for Environmental Health at

The Position

The Research Assistant (RA) assists the Illegal Toxic Threats program (CEH’s public interest litigation program) team in gathering and managing evidence for CEH’s active litigation and compliance product testing projects. The RA dedicates time to researching new Proposition 65 litigation opportunities and toxic threats. The RA processes and manages evidence, organizes shopping trips, delegates tasks to part-time student interns, and corresponds with CEH’s litigating partners when required to move forward active litigation. As needed, the RA works with the Scientist to send samples of consumer products to third-party laboratories for further testing. The RA completes other administrative and housekeeping duties associated with litigation. 

Since March 2020, CEH staff have been working remotely from home.  CEH’s primary priority during this time is to keep our staff safe and we are following all city and county orders, mandates, and guidelines related to COVID-19. This position does currently require infrequent (approximately 1 day/week) travel to the Oakland office in order to manage and transport evidence and perform XRF testing. CEH maintains a staff calendar with strict guidelines to limit the number of employees in-office at any one time and allow for distance. In the future, when CEH’s Oakland office reopens and in-person work is considered safe under widely accepted, health-protective measures, the Research Assistant (and other staff) will be required to report to the office in-person in Oakland.

Position Type:  Full time 

Start date: June 21, 2021

Reports to:  CEH’s Illegal Toxic Threats (ITT) Program Director 

Position Time Frame: Permanent

Primary Duties and Responsibilities
  • Assists in researching a diversity of new litigation opportunities that will reduce consumer and/or community exposure to toxic chemicals, through California’s Proposition 65 and other federal and state laws. Research may include, for example, investigating the presence of heavy metals such as cadmium in jewelry, or lead in food products, and evaluating how exposure to toxic chemicals might impact public health.
  • Coordinates shopping and travel for evidence purchasing of various consumer product types; delegates research, shopping, data entry, and testing tasks to student interns for managed cases.
  • Collects and tests consumer products for presence of toxic chemicals.
  • Attends all necessary training on the safe use of CEH’s x-ray fluorescence analyzer (XRF) and performs data entry and XRF testing performs data entry and XRF testing; as appropriate, screens products for toxic chemicals with the Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy machine.
  • Works with the Science Director to identify which products to send to third-party laboratories for testing; prepares chain of custody forms and other documents for all lab tests relating to CEH’s casework.
  • Prepares evidence shipments to labs for testing.
  • Contributes to CEH’s online communications tools.
  • Where possible, supports the organization’s fundraising efforts.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.
Required Qualifications/Experience
  • Commitment to protecting people from toxic chemicals.
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent working experience.
  • Excellent written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Meticulous attention to detail and expert time-management skills.
  • Ability to communicate productively and effectively.
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously and meet multiple deadlines concurrently.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Proficiency with Excel, Word, and Outlook.
  • Ability to excel in and contribute to a collegial and friendly working environment.
  • Promotes and reinforces intersectional issues and equity as a core value of CEH.
  • Ability to communicate with diverse groups, work within a multicultural workforce; sensitivity and appreciation to cultural differences.
  • Strong commitment to and understanding of social and environmental justice
What to expect from CEH 
  • Competitive entry-level nonprofit salary.
  • Full benefits, including 401k match (up to 5% of salary), health insurance, vacation, sick time and paid holidays.
  • A team with a sense of justice and a sense of humor.
  • A low-ego, high-performance culture and flexible work environment.
Working Conditions and Job Setting 
  • Physical ability to type and use a computer is essential.
  • Infrequent periodic lifting of up to 20 pounds is required.
  • CA Drivers license and willingness to drive is required; not necessary to have a personal vehicle as organization can arrange travel via car share program.

Applying for this Job   

Write/gather the following materials and send in a single PDF:  

  • Cover letter describing your interest in the position and relevant experience/skills.
  • Resume. 

Please merge these materials into a single PDF with the file name in the following format: Surname_Research Assistant Application.  Then email that PDF to: (subject line: Research Assistant Application). 

We acknowledge receipt of all employment applications, and when we decide a candidate is no longer in the running, we notify them. (Note: this sometimes can take a while.) 

This position will remain open until we find the right person to fill it. If this posting is still up, go ahead and apply. The desired start date is June 21, 2021. 

Equal Opportunity

CEH is an equal opportunity employer, and as an organization committed to diversity and the perspective of all voices, we consider applicants equally of race, gender, gender identity or expression, color, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, age, ability, personal appearance, family responsibilities or national origin.