John P. Wargo

Tweedy Ordway Professor of Environmental Health and Politics

Research Overview

Professor Wargo has concentrated much of his career to understand the threat to human health posed by environmental hazards.  He has especially concentrated on the susceptibility of children, and has conducted research to evaluate the effectiveness of law in reducing risk at federal, state and local levels of government.  He conducted many of the risk assessments that provided a foundation for several National Academy of Sciences studies on human health threats from pesticides, including Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children (1993) and The Delaney Paradox: Regulating Pesticides in Food (1987). 

Professor Wargo wrote Our Children’s Toxic Legacy, presenting a history of pesticide law and science, published by Yale University Press in 1998. The book won the American Publishers’ Association Prize for the best Book in Political Science the year it was released. These research efforts are widely credited as the source of inspiration for the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996.  He was lead author of the study Children’s Exposure to Diesel Exhaust on School Buses (EHHI 2002) that helped to focus national attention and funding to remedy the exceptionally poor air quality experienced by nearly 23 million children each day on buses.  Since this study, EPA and Congress have allocated more than $50 million to retrofit older school buses with particle traps, catalytic converters, and pay for ultra low sulfur fuels. 

Professor Wargo is now conducting research on hazardous site restoration and reclassification to parks, preserves, and refuges, focusing on Defense, Energy, and Interior Department facilities.  He is completing a new book, Children’s Environmental Quality and Health in the 21st Century, to be published by Yale University Press in 2007.