• Lanphear, Bruce P.

    Investigator, BC Children's Hospital
    Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University
    Degrees / Designations
    MD, MPH
    Primary Area of Research
    Evidence to Innovation
    Secondary Area(s) of Research
    604-875-2000 ext. 4779
    Lab Phone
    Mailing Address
    Clinical Support Building

    948 West 28th Ave, Room V3-324
    Vancouver, BC V6H 3N1

    Affiliate Websites
    Research Areas
    • Children’s Health and the Environment
    • Lead Toxicity
    • Environmental Toxicants
    • Environmental Chemicals

    The goal of Dr. Lanphear’s research is to prevent common diseases and disabilities in children, such as asthma, injuries and ADHD. Initially, his research seeks to quantify the impact of a variety of risk factors – from exposures to heavy metals and chemicals, maternal depression, poor housing quality and poverty – to understand why some children develop learning problems, behavioural problems, injuries or asthma. To accurately quantify the contribution of risk factors, his research tests various ways to measure children’s exposures using novel biomarkers, parent report or observational surveys. His research also explores how genes impact children susceptibility or resiliency to a variety of environmental risk factors. Finally, Dr. Lanphear attempts to design studies to test the benefits of reducing children’s exposures to environmental hazards. 

    Current Projects

    The HOME Study
    Children’s health is, to a large extent, a function of their environment. Exposures to toxins are risk factors for learning and behavioral problems in children. Lead exposure has been linked to ADHD, conduct disorder and delinquency. Exposure to tobacco has been linked with conduct disorder and ADHD. Still, most studies have only examined children with higher exposures; new research is linking low-level exposure to lead, mercury and PCB’s with adverse effects at levels previously thought to be safe. There are also data linking exposures to pesticides and other emerging chemicals with learning and behavioral problems, but the data are too sparse to draw any conclusions. 

    The HOME Study, a 400-person birth cohort study, was designed to examine the impact of low-level exposures to toxins on learning and behavioral problems in children, such as executive dysfunction and ADHD. We are also conducting a trial to test the benefit of lead hazard controls on children’s blood lead levels and the development of learning and behavioral problems.

    We are testing the following hypotheses in the HOME Study: 

    1. Low-level exposures to heavy metals, pesticides, tobacco and other chemicals during fetal and early childhood are risk factors for learning and behavioural problems in children.

    2. Prenatal exposure to toxins, as measured in meconium, is a stronger predictor of learning and behavioural problems than exposures measured by survey, in maternal and cord blood or serum, and urine.

    3. Children who are randomly assigned to a lead hazard reduction group will have blood lead levels that are 2.7 mg/dL (30%) or lower at 24 months of age, significantly higher cognitive scores and fewer behavioural problems than children in the control group. 

    Selected Publications

    Geraghty SR, Khoury JC, Morrow AL, Lanphear BP.: Reporting individual test results of environmental chemicals in breastmilk: potential for premature weaning. Breastfeed Med. 2008 Dec;3(4):207-13.

    Yolton K, Khoury J, Hornung R, Dietrich K, Succop P, Lanphear B.: Environmental tobacco smoke exposure and child behaviors. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2008 Dec;29(6):450-7.

    Braun JM, Froehlich TE, Daniels JL, Dietrich KN, Hornung R, Auinger P, Lanphear BP.: Association of environmental toxicants and conduct disorder in U.S. children: NHANES 2001-2004. Environ Health Perspect. 2008 Jul;116(7):956-62.

    Spanier AJ, Hornung RW, Kahn RS, Lierl MB, Lanphear BP.: Seasonal variation and environmental predictors of exhaled nitric oxide in children with asthma. Pediatr Pulmonol. 2008 Jun;43(6):576-83.

    Cecil KM, Brubaker CJ, Adler CM, Dietrich KN, Altaye M, Egelhoff JC, Wessel S, Elangovan I, Hornung R, Jarvis K, Lanphear BP.: Decreased brain volume in adults with childhood lead exposure. PLoS Med. 2008 May 27;5(5):e112

    Wright JP, Dietrich KN, Ris MD, Hornung RW, Wessel SD, Lanphear BP, Ho M, Rae MN.: Association of prenatal and childhood blood lead concentrations with criminal arrests in early adulthood. PLoS Med. 2008 May 27;5(5):e101.

    Froehlich T, Lanphear BP, Dietrich KN, Cory-Slechta D, Wang N, Kahn RS.  ADHD-related executive function:  interactions of the DRD4 polymorphism, lead and sex.  Biologic Psychiatry 2007:62:243-249. 

    Froehlich TE, Lanphear BP, Epstein JN, Barbaresi WJ, Katusic SK, Kahn RS. Prevalence, recognition and treatment of Attention-Deficit, Hyperactivity Disorder in a national sample of US children.  Arch Ped Adolesc Med 2007;161:857-864. 

    Yuan W, Holland S, Cecil K, Dietrich K, Wessel SD, Altaye M, Hornung R, Ris M, Egelhoff J, Lanphear B.  The impact of early childhood lead exposure on brain organization: A functional magnetic resonance imaging study of language function. Pediatrics 2006;118:971-977.

    Braun J, Kahn RS, Froehlich T, Auinger P, Lanphear BP.  Exposures to environmental toxicants and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in U.S. children.  Environ Health Perspect 2006;114:1904-1909.

    Yolton K, Auinger P, Dietrich KN, Lanphear BP, Hornung R.  Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and cognitive abilities among US children and adolescents. Environ Health Persp 2005:113:98-103. 

    Lanphear BP, Hornung R, Khoury J, Yolton K, Baghurst P, Bellinger DC, Canfield RL, Dietrich KN, Bornschein R, Greene T, Rothenberg SJ, Needleman HL, Schnaas L, Wasserman G, Graziano J.  Low-level environmental lead exposure and children’s intellectual function: An international pooled analysis.  Environ Health Perspect 2005;113:894-899.

    Canfield RL, Henderson CR, Cory-Slechta DA, Cox C, Jusko TA, Lanphear BP. Intellectual impairment in children with blood lead concentrations below 10 micrograms per deciliter. N Engl J Med 2003;348:1517-1526. 

    Kahn RS, Khoury JC, Nichols WC, Lanphear BP. Role of dopamine transporter genotype and maternal prenatal smoking in childhood hyperactivity-impulsivity, inattentive and oppositional behaviors. Journal of Pediatrics 2003:143: 104-110.  

    Honours & Awards

    Dr. Lanphear has had the honor of serving on several national and international advisory committees. He served as a member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Children’s Health and the Environment for the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. Dr. Lanphear was a Member of two National Academies of Science Committees, one on “Ethical Consideration for Research on Housing-Related Health-Hazards involving Children” and the other on “Contaminated Drinking Water at Camp Lejeune”. He is a Member of the U.S. EPA's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee - Lead Review Panel. Dr. Lanphear is an editorial board member for several scientific journals, including PLoS Medicine, Environmental Research, Public Health Reports, Breastfeeding Medicine, Environmental Health and Environmental Health Perspectives. In 2007, he was elected to the Ramazzini Collegium, an international society of scientists that examines critical issues in occupational and environmental health and is dedicated to the prevention of disease and the promotion of health.

    Research Group Members