John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Environmental Epidemiology; Chair, Department of Environmental Health; Director, Harvard-NIEHS Center for Environmental Health; Associate Professor of Medicine (Epidemiology)
- Harvard University Center for the Environment
- Future of Energy at Harvard
- Harvard School of Public Health
- NIEHS Center for Environmental Health
- Harvard Medical School
Professor Dockery, MS, ScD, was one of the principal investigators of the landmark Six Cities Study of Air Pollution and Health, which showed that people living in communities with higher fine particulate air pollution had shorter life expectancies.
He has studied the health effects of air pollution in studies of people who have been followed for a few months up to 25 years. His research has shown that combustion particles in the air are linked to increased morbidity and mortality even at the relatively low concentrations observed in developed countries today. Specifically, his work has shown that episodes of particulate air pollution are associated with increased numbers of deaths, increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits, respiratory conditions including asthma attacks, increased respiratory symptoms and lower lung function and cardiovascular conditions including heart attacks and cardiac arrhythmias. Long-term follow-up studies have shown particulate air pollution is associated with shortened life expectancy in adults and increased chronic respiratory illness and lower lung function in children. This research has led to the current standards for particulate air pollution both nationally and internationally. He was first author of the most cited air pollution paper in the peer-reviewed literature.
Dr. Dockery is currently evaluating the benefits of improved air quality on people’s health.