2022 Award Recipient

Dr. Philippe Grandjean, MD

Philippe Grandjean, M.D. of Copenhagen was selected and awarded the Needleman Medal for his scholarly and critical work on methyl mercury, lead, PFAS and other toxic chemicals, as well as his central role in promoting the Precautionary Principle as policy regarding the use of potentially toxic chemicals to which children and others might be exposed.  ISCHE is honored to award him this medal.

Dr. Philippe Grandjean conducts international research to assess adverse health effects that are linked to exposures to environmental chemicals, especially those that occur prenatally during highly vulnerable early life stages. He serves as the STEEP Center co-PI and PI of Project 2, which is aimed at exploring the adverse effects that occur in two groups of children at ages 14 and 5 years whose exposures to PFASs have been documented since they were born. The clinical part of project is carried out in the Faroe Islands, where there is a strong tradition for such studies with successful follow-up, while blood analyses are performed at the University of Southern Denmark.

Dr. Grandjean also serves as Professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Southern Denmark, and he has previously been part-time at Harvard T.H. Chan School Public Health for 20 years. In 2002, Grandjean became founding Editor-in-Chief of the open-access journal Environmental Health that has become a major medium for publishing research in this field. His book “Only on chance – and How to Protect the Brains of the Next Generation” was published in 2013 by Oxford University Press.

Among several awards for his research, he has received the ‘Mercury madness award’ for excellence in science in the public interest, from eight US environmental organizations in 2004, in 2016 the John R. Goldsmith Award from the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology, and the Needleman Award in Children’s Environmental Health from the International Society for Children’s Health and the Environment in 2022. He served as a member of European Environment Agency’s scientific committee in 2012-2020 and of the World Health Organization’s European Advisory Committee on Health Research in 2011-2017.


About the Needleman Award

The Needleman Award, named in honor of Dr. Herbert Needleman, acknowledges a scientist who has made significant strides in advancing children's environmental health, while facing formidable challenges from powerful entities, including industry and government. Ideally, an awardee should embody Dr. Needleman’s commitment to safe housing for children, and his willingness to advocate for children through his science despite well funded opposition. Thus: The nominee is a scientist actively conducting research in children’s environmental health. Their work should have a considerable impact, exposing significant risks to children’s well-being. 

The scientist has demonstrated unwavering courage and determination in their pursuit of knowledge, while facing opposition from influential forces such as industry, government, or other adversaries. Dr. Needleman's own journey serves as inspiration, as he persisted through challenges and eventually triumphed in his endeavors. 

Although the award aims to support early-career scientists in their struggles, it is not restricted to this stage. Nominees who encountered opposition from powerful interests later in their careers are also eligible.