Philip Landrigan

Adjunct Professor of Environmental Health

Director, Global Public Health Program

Director, Global Observatory on Pollution and Health

Professor of Biology

Other Affiliations

Dean for Global Health, Professor and Chair of Preventive Medicine, and Professor of Pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine


Dr. Landrigan’s research focuses on toxic chemicals in the environment and their effects on children’s health and development.

Dr. Landrigan’s landmark studies in the early 1970s of children exposed to lead near a large 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 in combination with the research of Herb Needleman, MD, then at Harvard Medical School, and Joel Schwartz, PhD, now at HSPH, was critical in persuading the EPA to remove lead from gasoline and paint, actions that have resulted in a 95% decline in lead poisoning in US children. This success has been emulated in nations worldwide.

The 1993 National Academy of Science report on Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children that Dr. Landrigan directed was critical in informing policy makers of children’s unique vulnerabilities to pesticides and other toxic chemicals in the environment. It triggered a paradigm shift in risk assessment and 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.

More recently, Dr. Landrigan has been a leader in the development and implementation of the National Children’s Study, the largest study of children’s health ever launched in the United States.

Dr. Landrigan has also been centrally involved in the medical and epidemiologic studies that followed the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. By raising awareness of the negative health consequences that resulted from exposure at the World Trade Center, Dr. Landrigan contributed to passage in 2010 of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health Act, which authorized five more years of health monitoring and medical treatment for the rescue workers and responders at Ground Zero.

Recently, Dr. Landrigan has been appointed Dean for Global Health at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He will be involved in leading medical student programs in global health and building strong ties to the health systems of developing nations.

Prior to joining Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 1985, Dr. Landrigan served at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. He established the environmental epidemiology unit at CDC that has grown into the National Center for Environmental Health. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal of the U.S. Public Health Service.

In the News

Read the commentary by Philip L. Landrigan, MD, MSc, “Why Are We Subsidizing Childhood Obesity” that appeared in the New York Times on October 26, 2010.

Read the commentary by Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc, “What’s Getting Into Our Children?” that appeared in the New York Times on August 4, 2009.

Dr. Landrigan and his work were recently profiled in The Daily News feature The Daily Check Up. View the PDF. Dr. Landrigan was also profiled in The Lancet in 2005. View profile.


  • MD, Harvard Medical School
  • Diploma of Industrial Health, University of London
  • M.Sc. in Occupational Medicine, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • AB, Boston College
  • Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Residency, Medicine/Pediatrics
    MetroHealth Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
  • Residency, Pediatrics
    Children’s Hospital Boston

Global Health Research Projects

  • Measles Vaccine, Nigeria: Trial of a reduced dose of measles vaccine in Nigerian children, Robert B. Wallace, Philip J. Landrigan, E. Ademola Smith, John Pifer, Benjamin Teller, and Stanley O. Foster, Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Vol. 53, 1976.
  • Multiple- Antigen Vaccine Campaign, El Salvador: Epidemiologic Assessment of a Nationwide Multiple Antigen Vaccine Campaign, Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., Medical Epidemiologist, Eduardo Navarro Rivas, M.D., Director and Donald L. Eddins, B.S., Chief, Journal of Tropical Pediatrics, Vol. 20, 1974.
  • Children’s Environmental Health, Mexico: A qualitative analysis of environmental policy and children’s health in Mexico, Cifuentes E, Trasande L, Ramirez M, Landrigan PJ., Environmental Health, Vol. 23, 2010.
  • Environmental Threats to Children’s Health, Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific: Environmental threats to children’s health in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific, Suk WA, Ruchirawat KM, Balakrishnan K, Berger M, Carpenter D, Damstra T, de Garbino JP, Koh D, Landrigan PJ, Makalinao I, Sly PD, Xu Y, Zheng BS., Environmental Health Perspective, Vol. 111, 2003.