One Pediatrician’s Journey Pioneering the Field of Children’s Environmental Health: A Conversation with Dr. Philip Landrigan
1:00 pm US Eastern Time
The New England Journal of Medicine: GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health
The Lancet Neurology: Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity
The Atlantic: The Toxins that Threaten Our Brains
This call is part of a periodic series CHE is hosting with “luminaries” in environmental health.
CHE has been privileged to have Dr. Landrigan present on several CHE partnership calls over the years, highlighting scientific advancements in the field of children’s environmental health, as well as calling for continued research and policy development.
Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc, is a pediatrician, epidemiologist and pioneering leader in the field of children’s environmental health. Dr. Landrigan’s landmark studies in the early 1970s of children exposed to lead near a lead ore smelter in El Paso, Texas, were among the first to show that lead can cause brain damage to children at levels too low to cause clinically evident signs and symptoms—a phenomenon now termed “subclinical toxicity.” This work was critical in persuading the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove lead from gasoline and paint, actions that resulted in a 95 percent decline in lead poisoning in US children. This success has been emulated in nations worldwide. Additionally, the 1993 National Academy of Science report on Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children that Dr. Landrigan led provided the blueprint for the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, the major law governing pesticide use in the US, and the only federal environmental law that contains explicit provisions for the protection of children’s health. Most recently Dr. Landrigan has joined with Richard Fuller of the Blacksmith Institute/Pure Earth to create a new Lancet Commission on Pollution, Health and Development.
Dr. Landrigan has been a member of the faculty of Mount Sinai School of Medicine since 1985 and served as chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine from 1990 until July 2015. He is also professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai. He was named Dean for Global Health in 2010.
Elected as a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1987, Dr. Landrigan has received many prestigious awards for his seminal research and science translation into public health policy. In the course of his career, he has also published more than 500 scientific papers and five books, includingThe Textbook on Children’s Environmental Health, which was published in 2014 and co-written with Ruth Etzel, MD, PhD. In addition, he was very influential in establishing a new Office of Children's Health Protection at the EPA. Dr. Landrigan’s unwavering dedication to improving children’s environmental health has resulted in far greater recognition of these critical concerns nationally and globally.
On this call Elise Miller, MEd, CHE’s director, talked with Dr. Landrigan about how he came to the field of children’s environmental health, his work over the past decades, what he sees as pivotal moments in the evolution of the children’s environmental health movement, and priority actions and opportunities to reduce children’s exposures to toxic chemicals in the future.