Baskut Tuncak

Baskut Tuncak

Research Professor and Director of the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI)

Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences
Public Health, TURI
Boott Mill


Chemical law and policy, Environmental health, Occupational health, International law, Human rights

Research Interests

Human rights and toxic exposures, International environmental law and policy, Pollution prevention, Innovation and safer chemicals


  • JD: with honors, Seattle University School of Law
  • BA: Chemistry-Biochemistry, with honors, Colby College


Baskut Tuncak is the executive director of the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI), an independent, state-level agency created in 1989 to prevent pollution and protect workers from hazardous substances (described further below). He is also a Research Professor in the Department of Public Health at the University of Massachusetts (Lowell). His research focuses on international environmental law and policy.

From 2014-2020, Tuncak served as the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on human rights and toxics, appointed by the Human Rights Council to advise and promote the realization of environmental and occupational rights, in particular the right to a healthy environment and the right to safe work. He is credited with the transformation of an underappreciated mandate of the United Nations into a dynamic human rights mechanism, working with States, businesses and affected communities on reducing the impacts of hazardous substances and wastes on human rights. Issues of particular focus during his tenure included: the rights of vulnerable groups, such as children, workers and indigenous peoples; the right to information; access to remedies and justice; and the duty of States and responsibility of businesses to prevent exposure to toxics, including good practices in these regards.

Tuncak continues to advise various stakeholders on issues under national and international law, with a particular focus on pollution and chemicals management. He has advised the International Labour Organization (ILO), UNICEF-UK, UN Environment Program and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well other national and international public interest organizations such as terre des hommes, Solidar Suisse, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Greenpeace International, among others. He has served on advisory committees for UNEP, the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, Environmental Law Institute (ELI), among others.

Tuncak can also be contacted, via email: