Heather M. Stapleton

Ronie-Richele Garcia-Johnson Distinguished Professor

Professor Heather Stapleton is an environmental chemist and exposure scientist in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University.  Her research interests focus on identification of halogenated and organophosphate chemicals in building materials, furnishings and consumer products, and estimation of human exposure, particularly in vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and children.  Her laboratory utilizes mass spectrometry, including targeted and nontargeted approaches, to characterize chemical burdens in both environmental samples and biological tissues to support environmental health research. Currently she serves as the Director for the Duke Superfund Research Center, and Director of the Duke Environmental Analysis Laboratory, which is part of NIH’s Human Health Environmental Analysis Resource.


Appointments and Affiliations

  • Ronie-Richele Garcia-Johnson Distinguished Professor
  • Professor
  • Member of the Duke Cancer Institute

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 9 Circuit Drive, Box 90328, LSRC Room A207, Durham, NC 27710
  • Office Phone: (919) 613-8717
  • Email Address: heather.stapleton@duke.edu
  • Websites:


  • B.S. Long Island University, Southhampton College, 1997
  • M.S. University of Maryland, College Park, 2000
  • Ph.D. University of Maryland, College Park, 2003

Research Interests

  • Human exposure in indoor environments
  • Use of silicone wristbands to measure human exposure
  • Chemical exposures and cancer risk
  • Targeted & Nontargeted mass spectrometry methods applied to environmental samples
  • Effects of halogenated organic contaminants (e.g. BFRs, PFAS) on thyroid hormone regulation

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Highly Cited Researcher in the field of Environment. Clarivate. 2021
  • Thomas Langford Lectureship Award. Duke University. 2020
  • Highly Cited Researcher. Clarivate. 2019
  • Best Paper of the Year Award. Environmental Science & Technology. 2011

Courses Taught

  • CEE 563: Chemical Fate of Organic Compounds
  • ENVIRON 360: Environmental Health: Pollutant Chemistry and Toxicology
  • ENVIRON 393: Research Independent Study
  • ENVIRON 394: Research Independent Study
  • ENVIRON 540: Chemical Fate of Organic Compounds
  • ENVIRON 593: Independent Studies and Projects
  • ENVIRON 780: Environmental Exposure Analysis
  • ENVIRON 899: Master's Project

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Hall, Samantha M., Sharon Zhang, George H. Tait, Kate Hoffman, David N. Collier, Jane A. Hoppin, and Heather M. Stapleton. “PFAS levels in paired drinking water and serum samples collected from an exposed community in Central North Carolina.” The Science of the Total Environment 895 (October 2023): 165091. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.165091.
  • Samon, Samantha, Nicholas Herkert, Akhgar Ghassabian, Hongxiu Liu, Stephanie C. Hammel, Leonardo Trasande, Heather M. Stapleton, and Kate Hoffman. “Measuring semi-volatile organic compound exposures during pregnancy using silicone wristbands.” Chemosphere 339 (October 2023): 139778. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2023.139778.
  • Overdahl, Kirsten E., Christopher D. Kassotis, Kate Hoffman, Gordon J. Getzinger, Allison Phillips, Stephanie Hammel, P Lee Ferguson, and Heather M. Stapleton. “Characterizing azobenzene disperse dyes and related compounds in house dust and their correlations with other organic contaminant classes.” Environmental Pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987), September 2023, 122491. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2023.122491.
  • Ruis, Matthew, Kate Hoffman, and Heather M. Stapleton. “Brominated flame retardants and legacy organochlorines in archived human placenta samples: Sex differences, temporal analysis and associations with infant birth weight.” Chemosphere 322 (May 2023): 138170. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2023.138170.
  • Carignan, Courtney C., Rachel A. Bauer, Andrew Patterson, Thep Phomsopha, Eric Redman, Heather M. Stapleton, and Christopher P. Higgins. “Self-Collection Blood Test for PFASs: Comparing Volumetric Microsamplers with a Traditional Serum Approach.” Environmental Science & Technology 57, no. 21 (May 2023): 7950–57. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.2c09852.