Aaron E. Blair, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Scientist Emeritus

Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch


9609 Medical Center Drive
Room SG/6E630
Rockville, MD 20850



Research Topics

Dr. Aaron Blair’s research has focused on occupational and environmental causes of cancer. He has played a key role in the development and management of the long-term Agricultural Health Study. His studies of exposures to pesticides, dry cleaning solvents, and industrial chemicals—such as formaldehyde, acrylonitrile, tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, diesel exhaust, and silica—have resulted in numerous scientific publications. Findings from his work have been instrumental in setting guidelines for human exposure, including the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifications on possible carcinogenic risk to humans. In addition, Dr. Blair has contributed to the development of novel methodologies in industrial hygiene and exposure measurement.


Dr. Blair received a Ph.D. in genetics from North Carolina State University and an M.P.H. in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina. He joined the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as a staff fellow in 1976, and was appointed head of the Occupational Studies Section in 1978. When the group became a branch in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG) in 1996, Dr. Blair was appointed Chief. He has received NIH Director's Awards, the PHS Special Recognition Award, NIH Merit Award, DHHS Quality of Work Life Award, University of North Carolina H.A. Tyroler Distinguished Alumni Award, the John Goldsmith Award for Outstanding Contributions to Environmental Epidemiology from the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology, The Harriet Barr Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Public Health Alumnus Association of the University of North Carolina, the NIOSH Alice Hamilton Award, and the Epidemiology in Occupational Health (EPICOH) Award for Outstanding Contributions to Occupational Epidemiology. He has served on numerous review groups for IARC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and other agencies and organizations. Dr. Blair has authored more than 450 publications on occupational and environmental causes of cancer. He was named DCEG Scientist Emeritus in 2007.

Selected Publications

  1. Blair A, Ritz B, Wesseling C, Freeman LB. Pesticides and human health. Occup Environ Med. 2015;72(2):81-2.

  2. Beane Freeman LE, Blair A, Lubin JH, Stewart PA, Hayes RB, Hoover RN, Hauptmann M. Mortality from lymphohematopoietic malignancies among workers in formaldehyde industries: the National Cancer Institute Cohort. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2009;101(10):751-61.

  3. Blair A, Saracci R, Vineis P, Cocco P, Forastiere F, Grandjean P, Kogevinas M, Kriebel D, McMichael A, Pearce N, Porta M, Samet J, Sandler DP, Costantini AS, Vainio H. Epidemiology, public health, and the rhetoric of false positives. Environ Health Perspect. 2009;117(12):1809-13.

  4. Blair A, Stewart P, Lubin JH, Forastiere F. Methodological issues regarding confounding and exposure misclassification in epidemiological studies of occupational exposures. Am J Ind Med. 2007;50(3):199-207.

  5. Blair A, Zahm SH, Pearce NE, Heineman EF, Fraumeni JF Jr. Clues to cancer etiology from studies of farmers. Scand J Work Environ Health. 1992;18(4):209-15.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on August 8th, 2017