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Dr Tony Fletcher

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Theme 1 Deputy Leader

Theme 1 - Epidemiological assessment of low level environmental exposures

Public Health England

Tony Fletcher works as an Environmental Epidemiologist in the Epidemiology Department,at PHE’s  Centre for Radiation Chemical and Environmental Hazards (CRCE). In that post he contributes to the Environmental Public Health Tracking Programme.

Tony joined Public Health England in 2013, part time, and splits his work time with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) which he joined in 1992. At LSHTM he is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Epidemiology in the Department of Social and Environmental Health Research. He also has an honorary post in the US since 2007, Adjunct Research Professor in Environmental Health in the School of Public Health, Boston University, Massachusetts. He was elected President of International Society for Environmental Epidemiology, serving during 2003-6.

He has over 30 years work in occupational and environmental epidemiology and risk assessment, with experience of studies of risk factors for cancer, respiratory disease, endocrine disruptors and other adverse effects along with genetic and other mechanisms. His research encompasses epidemiology and risk assessment of a number of exposures, both occupational (including foundry work, asbestos, silica, welding and rockwools) and environmental (air and water pollution). In recent years he was worked mainly on studies of the health effects of drinking water contaminated by arsenic and perfluorinated compounds.

During 2006 to 2013, he was running a major research effort on the health effects of drinking water exposure to Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA or C8), in West Virginia and Ohio, USA. He was part of the “C8 Science Panel” established to assess the links between PFOA and disease, with his work focusing on cancers, immune and endocrine disease and mechanisms of action of these perfluorinated compounds.

On arsenic he is principal investigator for the PHE - led study of the association between arsenic consumption from private drinking water supplies and measured biological levels in the population of Cornwall. While at LSHTM he ran the ASHRAM study on cancer risks in relation to water contaminated by arsenic in three countries in Central Europe, funded by the European Union.

As well as research he has been involved in hazard and risk assessment, for example contributing to several Monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risk at IARC and as a long-standing member of the Health and Safety Executive’s Committee "WATCH"  (Working Group on the Assessment of Toxic Chemicals) providing advice on setting occupational exposure limits and other tools for prevention of risks arising from chemicals at work.

Following a first degree in Natural Sciences in Cambridge University he completed an MSc in Occupational Health and Safety and a PhD in the Occupational Epidemiology of cancer risks in steel foundries. He has held jobs at IARC, the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France; the MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit, Southampton and Birmingham and Aston Universities.