Dr. Landrigan graduated from Boston Latin School in 1959, from Boston College in 1963 and from Harvard Medical School in 1967. He completed an internship in medicine/pediatrics at Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital and a residency in pediatrics at Children's Hospital Boston. He received a Masters of Science degree in Occupational Medicine and a Diploma of Industrial Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine of the University of London. He served for 15 years as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer and medical epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). While at CDC, Dr. Landrigan served for one year as a field epidemiologist in El Salvador and for another year in northern Nigeria. He participated in the Global Campaign for the Eradication of Smallpox. Dr. Landrigan directed the national program in occupational epidemiology for NIOSH. He was responsible at CDC for creating the unit that has evolved into CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal of the US Public Health Service.
In 1987, Dr. Landrigan was elected as a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He served as Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine and Editor of
Environmental Research. He has published more than 500 scientific papers and five books. He has chaired committees at the National Academy of Sciences on Environmental Neurotoxicology and on
Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children. The NAS report that he directed on pesticides and children's health was instrumental in securing passage of the Food Quality Protection Act, the only environmental law in the United States that contains explicit provisions for the protection of children.
From 1995 to 1997, Dr. Landrigan served on the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veteran's Illnesses. In 1997-1998, he served as Senior Advisor on Children's Health to the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and was instrumental in helping to establish a new Office of Children's Health Protection at EPA.
Dr. Landrigan served from 1996 to 2005 in the Medical Corps of the United States Naval Reserve. He retired in 2005 at the rank of Captain. He served in Korea and Ghana and was Officer-in-Charge of the
West Africa Training Cruise, a medical humanitarian mission to Senegal in July, 2004 that saw over 11,000 patients. He was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal (3 awards), the National Defense
Service Medal, and the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service for his work on the Armed Forces Epidemiological Board. He continues to serve as Surgeon General of the New York
Naval Militia, New York's Naval National Guard.
Dr. Landrigan is known for his many decades of work in protecting children against environmental threats to health, most notably lead and pesticides. His pioneering research on lead toxicity at low levels persuaded the US government to mandate removal of lead from gasoline and paint, actions that have produced a 90% decline in incidence of childhood lead poisoning over the past 25 years. Dr.
Landrigan has been a leader in developing the National Children's Study, the largest study of children's health and the environment ever launched in the United States. He has been centrally involved in the
medical and epidemiologic studies that followed the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. He has consulted extensively to the World Health Organization.