Temporary Research Assistant

Position Type:  Full-time, Temporary (6-months) in Oakland, CA

Start date: mid-September 2022

Reports to: Senior Manager of Illegal Toxic Threats (ITT) Team

Position Time Frame: September 2022 – March 2023


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 industries, 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. The people who join our team understand the effects of race, gender, class, poverty, wealth, labor, homophobia, and corporate hegemony on people’s health. Our office is headquartered in Oakland.

Commitment to DEI

At CEH, striving for diversity, equity and inclusion 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.

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, including our Fashion Accessory Testing Campaign. The RA processes and manages evidence, organizes and performs shopping trips, and corresponds with CEH’s litigating partners to move forward active litigation. The RA works with the team 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, most 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 requires in-office responsibilities related to evidence management and XRF testing. Travel to and from the Oakland office will be compensated. CEH maintains a staff calendar with strict guidelines to limit the number of employees in-office at any one time and allow for distance.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

  •       Assists in investigating litigation opportunities that will reduce consumer and/or community exposure to toxic chemicals, through California’s Proposition 65 and other federal and state laws.
  •       Performs research, evidence purchasing (online and in-store), data entry and evidence documentation for various consumer product cases.
  •       Completes training to use CEH’s x-ray fluorescence analyzer (XRF) and performs XRF testing to screen evidence for heavy metals.
  •       Coordinates with team to identify which products to send to third-party laboratories for testing; prepares evidence packages, chain of custody forms, and other documents for all lab testing shipments relating to CEH’s casework.
  •       Where possible, contributes to CEH’s online communications tools.
  •       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.
  •       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  

Please submit in PDF format: 

  •       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: jobs@ceh.org (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 8/29. The desired start date is no later than September 15, 2022. 

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.