series event

From Toxicology to Planetary Health: A talk by Professor Bruce Lanphear, followed by an Early Career Researcher Showcase

In this lunchtime seminar, which is co-hosted by the Centre for Global Chronic Conditions and the MARCH Centre, Professor Bruce Lanphear (Simon Fraser University, Canada) will speak about his research on the impact of pollutants on human health, followed by speed talks from early career researchers working on topics of Planetary Health at LSHTM.



Prof. Sir Andy Haines


Prof. Bruce Lanphear

The Impact of Pollutants on Human Health: No Safe Levels?

Over the past three decades, in a series of studies on some of the most extensively studied pollutants or toxic chemicals, scientists have found that the amount of pollutant linked with the development of a disease or death – which is central to determining “safe” or “hazardous” levels – is proportionately greater at the lowest dose or levels of exposure. These results, which are contrary to the way agencies assess the risk of toxic chemicals, indicate that we have underestimated their impact on death, disease and disability. If widely disseminated pollutants – like radon, lead, airborne particles, asbestos, tobacco and benzene – do not exhibit a threshold and are proportionately more toxic at the lowest levels of exposure, we will need to achieve near-zero exposures to protect public health.

Bruce Lanphear, MD, MPH, is a Clinician Scientist at the BC Children’s Research Institute and a Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. Over the past decade, Dr. Lanphear has become increasingly vexed by our inability to control the “pandemic of consumption” – the largely preventable, worldwide epidemic of chronic disease and disability due to widespread exposure to industrial pollutants, environmental contaminants and excess consumption. He is leading an effort to produce videos to enhance public understanding of how our health is inextricably linked with the environment and elevate efforts to prevent disease.



James Milner

Addressing challenges to urban health and sustainability using data on globally representative cities

Peninah Murage

High night-time temperatures and mortality in London

Kristine Belesova

Mortality impact of low crop yields in rural Burkina Faso in the context of current and future climates

Francesca Harris

Water security and dietary transition: can sustainable diets save Indian food systems?



James Milner is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health, Environments and Society. His research involves mathematical modelling of the health impacts of environmental interventions and policies with a particular focus on climate change mitigation strategies and the built environment.

Peninah Murage joined the LSHTM in November 2016 to work on the Health Protection Research Unit programme on environmental change and health. Her research examines how changes in the climate such as the increase and frequency of heatwaves will affect the health of the UK population. She is also interested in exploring the protective characteristics of the natural environment such as green space and tree cover in mitigating against the effect of climate change on health.

Kristine Belesova is a Research Fellow in Environmental Epidemiology with background in Sustainable Development at PHES, LSHTM. She is interested in the design of evidence-informed strategies for Planetary Health. Her research examines solutions for health and sustainability of low-income housing and urban settlements, health co-benefits of climate change mitigation strategies, and climate change impacts on health and nutrition.

Francesca Harris is a Research Assistant in Nutrition and Sustainability at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She is part of a group that carries out work on the links between food, health and the environment. For her PhD, she is focusing on the role of sustainable diets in India. She is a Registered Associate Nutritionist and has a Master’s in Public Health Nutrition.