David Ozonoff, MD, MPH

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

David M. Ozonoff, MD, MPH, is Professor of Environmental Health at Boston University School of Public Health. He was the first chair of the Department of Environmental Health at Boston University School of Public Health (1983-2003) and presently directs the Superfund Basic Research Program at Boston University ,which is funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. This multidisciplinary group seeks to understand basic scientific problems connected with the federal Superfund Program. Dr Ozonoff’s own research centers on community health effects of toxic exposures, especially from hazardous waste sites. He has been principal or co-investigator of several major studies of waste sites, and has been a consultant for government at all levels, including the World Health Organization, on matters of the health effects of toxic waste and contamination.

Co-Editor-in-Chief of the online journal Environmental Health, Dr Ozonoff serves on the editorial boards of several other scientific journals. He was elected Fellow of the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars and Fellow of the Collegium Ramazzini. In 2002 he received the “Scientist for the Public Good” award from the Massachusetts Clean Water Action Alliance.

Dr Ozonoff also works on the use of scientific evidence in court and on new mathematical approaches to understanding the results of small case-control studies. He works with The Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science at Rutgers University on a Special Focus effort to bring together mathematicians and epidemiologists. As Co-Director for the Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy, he “examines the nature of science and how it is used and misused in government decision-making and legal proceedings... [and] promotes transparent decision-making, based on the best available science, to protect public health.”

After earning his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College, Dr Ozonoff received his master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. He went on to pursue research at MIT and later at Boston University.

Selected Publications:

  • Epistemology in the courtroom: a little ‘knowledge’ is a dangerous thing,” American Journal of Public Health, Supplement, 2005 Jul; 95(S1): S13-S15. [abstract]
  • “Legal causation and responsibility for causing harm,” American Journal of Public Health, Supplement, 2005 Jul; 95(S11):S35-S38. [abstract]
  • “Ticket to ride: spreading germs a mile high” (with L Pepper), The Lancet, 2005 Mar 12-18; 365(9463):989-996. [DOI]
    “Implications of the Precautionary Principle in research and policy-making” (with P Grandjean, JC Bailar, D Gee, HL Needleman, E Richter, M Sofritti, & CL Soskolne), American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 2004 Apr; 45(4):382-385. [abstract]
  • Anthrax: the precautionary principle goes postal,” Public Health Reports, 2002 Nov-Dec; 117(6):513-20.
  • “Superfund Basic Research Program: a model for contemporary research programs,” Environmental Health Perspectives, 2003; 111:A140-A141. [excerpt]
  • “Neuropsychological functioning in Danish Gulf War veterans” (with SP Proctor, RF White, T Heeren, F Debes, B Gloerfelt-Tarp, M Appleyard, T Ishoy, B Guldager, P Suadicani & F Gyntelberg), Journal of Psychopathology Behavioral Assessment , 2003 Jun; 25(2):85-93. [DOI] [abstract]
  • “Collaborating on public health issues” (with A Robbins), Science, 2002 May 24; 296(5572):1400. Letter. [DOI]
    Health toll of the Middle East crisis,” The Lancet, 2002 May 25; 359(9320):1859-1860. [DOI]
  • “Neuropsychological function in Gulf War veterans: relationships to self-reported toxicant exposures” (with RF White, SP Proctor, T Heeren, J Wolfe, M Krengel, J Vasterling, K Lindem, KJ Heaton & P Sutker), American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 2001 Jul; 40(1):42-54. [abstract]
  • “Where the boys aren’t: dioxin and the sex ratio” (with R Clapp), The Lancet, 2000 May; 355(9218):1838-1839. [DOI] [excerpt]
  • “An attack on ‘A defense of vitalism’,” Journal of Theoretical Biology, 1969 Jan; 24(1):121-122. [DOI]

Listen to David Ozonoff:

In the News:

Watch David Ozonoff:

  • “Boston, Biological Weapons and the New Arms Race,” B Roll Films, 2006.

Selected Presentations:

  • “Litigation-generated science: why should we care?” (with LI Boden), Environmental Health Perspectives, online 2007 Nov 7. [DOI] Paper from the Third Coronado Conference, Truth and Advocacy: The Quality and Nature of Litigation and Regulatory Science, 2006 Mar.
  • Public health in the time of great transition,” Making the Great Transformation Conference, Boston, 2003 Nov 13-15.
  • “Ask me something easier: a researcher confronts community concerns,” Distinguished Lecture, Superfund Basic Research Program, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC, 2003 Apr.
  • “The sad state of public health at the turn of the century,” keynote address, The University of Massachusetts Lowell Committee on Industrial Theory and Assessment, Sixth Annual Conference, Lowell, MA, 2002 Nov 7-9, .
  • “The Precautionary Principle as a screening device: what can we learn?” International Conference on The Precautionary Principle: Implications for Research and Prevention in Environmental and Occupational Health, Bologna, Italy, 2002 Oct 23-24.
  • “Scientific evidence in court after Daubert,” Boston Chapter of the Society for Risk Analysis, 2002 Jan.
  • “Anthrax and other issues of biological warfare and emerging infectious diseases,” keynote address, Annual Meeting of the New Hampshire Public Health Association, Concord, NH, 2001 Oct.
  • “Science and justice: clueless in the courtroom,” College-wide lecture, Dartmouth College, 2000 Nov 9.
  • “A fish out of water: scientists in court,” Workshop on Scientific Evidence in Court, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC, 2000 Sep 6.

Amicus Brief:

  • Ten Residents of Boston vs Boston Redevelopment Authority, Statement of Interest (with D Goodenough, J Guillemin, L Klotz & M Pelletier), Boston, MA, 2007 Aug 31.

The Online David Ozonoff:

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