Theo Colborn

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Dr. Theo Colborn
Born (1927-03-28) March 28, 1927 (age 87)
Nationality United States
Fields Zoology
Institutions University of Florida
Alma mater Rutgers University
University of Wisconsin–Madison

Theo Colborn is Founder and President of The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX), based in Paonia, Colorado, and Professor Emeritus of Zoology at the University of Florida, Gainesville. She is an environmental health analyst, and best known for her studies on the health effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Academic career[edit]

Dr. Colborn earned a PhD at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in Zoology (distributed minors in epidemiology, toxicology, and water chemistry); an MA in Science at Western State College of Colorado (fresh-water ecology); and a BS in Pharmacy from Rutgers University, College of Pharmacy. In 1985, Dr. Colborn received a Fellowship from the Office of Technology Assessment, U.S. Congress. From there she joined the Conservation Foundation in 1987 to provide scientific guidance for the 1990 book, Great Lakes, Great Legacy?, in collaboration with the Institute for Research and Public Policy, Ottawa, Canada at the request of the Canada/US International Joint Commission. She held a Chair for three years, starting in 1990, with the W. Alton Jones Foundation, and was given a three-year Pew Fellows Award in 1993.

Dr. Colborn has served on numerous advisory panels, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board, the Ecosystem Health Committee of the International Joint Commission of the United States and Canada, the Science Management Committee of the Toxic Substances Research Initiative of Canada, the U.S. EPA Endocrine Disruptor Screening and Testing Advisory Committee, and the EPA Endocrine Disruption Methods and Validation Subcommittee. She has published and lectured extensively on the consequences of prenatal exposure to synthetic chemicals by the developing embryo and fetus in wildlife, laboratory animals, and humans. Over the years she established and directed the Wildlife and Contaminants Program at World Wildlife Fund US.

In her retirement she has set up a non-profit, TEDX, to carry on the work of providing objective, technical information about endocrine disruption and related low-exposure hazards for academicians, policy makers, government employees, community-based and health support groups, public health authorities, physicians, the media, and individuals.

Endocrine disruption[edit]

Her 1988 research on the state of the environment of the Great Lakes revealed that persistent, man-made chemicals were being transferred from top predator females to their offspring and undermining the construction and programming of their youngsters’ organs before they were born. In light of this evidence, in 1991 she convened 21 international scientists from 15 different disciplines to share their research relevant to trans-generational health impacts. Specific participant and specialty information is provided in the Wingspread Consensus Statement.

During that meeting, the term “endocrine disruption” was coined; and a book followed in 1992; Chemically Induced Alterations in Sexual and Functional Development: The Wildlife/Human Connection, a collection of technical manuscripts provided by those who attended the session. The information from this volume and numerous subsequent scientific publications on the result of low-dose and/or ambient exposure effects of endocrine disruptors was popularized in her 1996 book, Our Stolen Future, co-authored with Dianne Dumanoski and John Peterson Myers now published in 18 languages.[1] Dr. Colborn’s work has prompted the enactment of new laws around the world and redirected the research of academicians, governments, and the private sector.


Among her awards are the Blue Planet Prize and the Rachel Carson Prize.[2]


  • Colborn, Theo; Dumanoski, Dianne; Myers, John Peterson (1996). Our Stolen Future: Are We Threatening Our Fertility, Intelligence, and Survival? A Scientific Detective Story. Dutton. ISBN 0-525-93982-2. 


  1. ^ "W. Alton Jones Foundation helps to fund hundreds of environmental groups". Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  2. ^ Yount, Lisa (2003). "Colborn, Theo E.". A to Z of biologists. New York, NY: Infobase Publishing. pp. 49–50. ISBN 978-1-4381-0917-6. 

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