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Photo of Stayner, Leslie Thomas

Leslie Thomas Stayner, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Pronouns: He/Him/His


Building & Room:



1603 W. Taylor St.

Office Phone:

(312) 355 3692

CV Download:



Dr. Stayner is currently Professor of Epidemiology and Director of the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health (UIC SPH) in Chicago, Illinois. He has over thirty years of experience in conducting research in the field of Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology. He was employed for twenty-three years with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in Cincinnati, Ohio where his last position held was the Chief of the Risk Evaluation Branch. In 2003 he left NIOSH to become the Director of the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the UIC SPH. In 2010 he stepped down from this position to focus on his research and to take a sabbatical working with the Center for Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) in Barcelona, Spain which he continues work with as an Adjunct Professor on studies of the effects of exposures to environmental chemicals on children. Dr. Stayner has also worked as a Visiting Scientist with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and continues to consult with IARC on their Monograph and research programs. He has authored or coauthored over 170 scientific publications and book chapters. He is well recognized for his scientific contributions in the areas of occupational cancer, quantitative risk assessment and epidemiologic methods. The main focus of his current research is on the effects of exposures to nitrates and other agricultural chemicals in drinking water and the risk of childhood cancer and adverse reproductive and developmental outcomes.

Selected Grants

NIEHS, Nitrate in drinking water and the risk of adverse birth outcomes, PI

Selected Publications

Stayner L, Almberg K, Jones R, Graber J, Pedersen M, Turyk M.  Atrazine and Nitrate in Drinking Water and the Risk of Preterm Delivery and Low Birth Weight in Four Midwestern States. Environmental Research.2017:152;294-303.

Stayner L, Welch LS, Lemen R. The Worldwide Pandemic of Asbestos-Related

Diseases. Annu Rev Public Health. 2013;34:205-16.

Stayner LT, Kuempel E, Gilbert S, Hein M, Dement J.  An epidemiologic study of the role of chrysotile asbestos fiber dimensions in determining respiratory disease risk in exposed workers. Occup Environ Med. 2008 Sep;65(9):613-9.

Stayner L, Bena J, Sasco AJ, Smith R, Steenland K, Kreuzer M, and Straif K.  Lung cancer risk and workplace exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.  Am J Public Health 2007 Mar;97(3):545-51.

Stayner L, Steenland K, Dosemici M and Hertz-Piccioto I.  Attenuation of exposure-response curves in occupational cohort studies at high exposures.   Scand J Work Environ Health  2003:29(4);317-24.

Stayner L, Smith RJ, Gilbert S and Bailer AJ. Epidemiologic approaches to risk assessment.  Toxicology, 1999:11; 593-601.

Stayner LT, Smith R, Bailer AJ, Gilbert S, Steenland K, Dement J, Brown D and Lemen R.   An exposure-response analysis of respiratory disease risk associated with occupational exposure to chrysotile asbestos.    Inhaled Particles III.  Ann Occ Hyg,1997:41(Supplement 1);137-141

Stayner L,Smith R, Bailer J, Luebeck EG and Moolgavkar SH.  Modeling epidemiologic studies of occupational cohorts for the quantitative assessment of carcinogenic hazards.  Am J Ind Med, 1995:27;155-70.

Stayner L,  Steenland K, Greife A, Hornung R, Nowlin S, Morawetz J, Ringenburg V, Elliot L, Hayes R, and Halperin W.  An exposure-response analysis of cancer mortality among a cohort of workers exposed to ethylene oxide.  Am J of Epid, 1993:138(10);787-98.

Service to Community

Scientific Advisor and consultant to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


1986-1989 University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, NC
Ph.D. in Epidemiology with a formal minor in Biostatistics received on August 14, 1989.

1978-1980 Harvard School of Public Health Boston, MA
M.Sc. in Epidemiology and Occupational Health and Safety, received on June 5, 1980.

1974-1977 University of Massachusetts Boston, MA
B.A. in Biology, Magna Cum Laude on June 2, 1977.

Research Currently in Progress

Nitrate is the most commonly found contaminant in the world’s aquifers and a major source of contamination of drinking water in the United States. There is suggestive evidence that maternal consumption of drinking water contaminated with nitrate is associated with an increased risk of adverse birth outcomes (i.e. preterm birth, low birth weight and birth defects), but most of these studies were limited by their small size, uncertain estimates of nitrate exposure, and lack of information on other risk factors and dietary sources of nitrate. This study, which will include over 1 million births in Denmark with comprehensive information on exposure to nitrate from water and diet and other risk factors for these outcomes, will be the most informative study concerning this issue that has ever been conducted.