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Guarding against toxic products
Guarding against toxic products


2011 Outstanding International Alumnus

Andre Craan ’69, MS ’71


An immigrant from Haiti, Andre Craan has become a protector of the Canadian people. The internationally known scientist lives in Ottawa and works as a scientific evaluator for Health Canada, where he focuses on toxicology in consumer products and their impact on human health and healing. Craan is also a sought-after speaker with academic credentials in his original and adopted homelands as well as the United States.

One of Craan’s proudest professional achievements came when he helped push for the successful 1998 recall of soft vinyl teethers and rattles containing an unacceptable amount of a toxic plasticizer. Experts feared that small children who sucked or chewed on the products for more than three hours a day would later develop liver enlargement or scarring of the kidneys.

Craan first came to Portland State on a scholarship from the International Institute of Education of the United Nations. He credits a number of faculty members for guiding him through his career. History professor Charles White, now emeritus, invited Craan to live in his home. The late Dick Forbes taught Biology Principles, about which Craan remembers a particular lesson that was “critical to my career path in biomedical research and regulatory science,” he says.

Today Craan’s expertise is in ensuring the safety of consumer products, from pharmaceuticals to toys, while navigating the complex world of product regulations and government processes.