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John Wargo

Tweedy/Ordway Professor at the School of the Environment; Affiliated Faculty, Yale Institute for Global Health

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John Wargo


John Wargo is Tweedy-Ordway Professor of Environmental Health and Political Science at Yale University, and Chair of the Yale College Environmental Studies Major and Program. B.A., University of Pennsylvania; M.L.A. University of Massachusetts, and M. Phil. and Ph.D., Yale University. He holds appointments in the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Department of Political Science, and is a resident fellow of Trumbull College. He is Visiting Professor at the Universität Basel, Switzerland School of Economics, Law, and Policy. He spent the 2016-17 academic year as Visiting Professor at the new Yale-National University of Singapore College in Singapore.

Professor Wargo wrote Green Intelligence published by Yale University Press and won the Independent Publishers Award: Gold Medal in Environment, Ecology and Nature; Category; was recognized by Scientific American as a Favorite Science Book of 2010; won the Connecticut Book Award for Non-Fiction.

He also wrote Our Children’s Toxic Legacy, presenting a history of pesticide law and science, also published by Yale University Press. The book won the American Publishers’ Association Prize for the best Book in Political Science.

He has testified before U.S. Senate and House Committees recommending legal strategies to protect children from environmental hazards, and has been an advisor to the Senate Committee on Health as well as the Vice President’s office, several EPA administrators, and the Secretary of Agriculture. He has been a member of EPA’s Scientific Advisory Panel/Board on Pesticides, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientific panels, and has advised the U.N.’s World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization on malaria, food safety, and pesticide control standards.

Professor Wargo has focused research to understand the threats to human health posed by environmental hazards. He has concentrated on the susceptibility of children and pregnant women, and has conducted research to evaluate the effectiveness of law in reducing environmental threats to human health. His studies have evaluated methods to reduce human exposures to pesticides, vehicle emissions, toxins in foods, plastics, flame-retardants, metals, and chemicals in built environments. He is currently writing a book examining environmental and health challenges associated with the global food supply.

Professor Wargo teaches doctoral, masters and undergraduate students in the area of environmental law, politics, and human health risk assessment. Topical areas of research include: agriculture, food safety, pesticides, air pollution, land use, National Seashores, Fish and Wildlife Refuges, and hazardous site restoration. Professor Wargo has supervised 15 doctoral students’ research on diverse domestic and international problems involving land use, environmental health, chemical management, risk assessment and law. His course, Environmental Politics and Law and its 24 lecturers are freely accessible in video and translated into 50 languages on the website Open Yale (


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