Philippe Grandjean (professor)

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Philippe Grandjean
Native name Philippe Adam Grandjean
Born (1950-03-01)March 1, 1950
Fields Environmental health
Institutions Harvard School of Public Health
Alma mater University of Copenhagen
Thesis Widening perspectives of lead toxicity (1979)
Known for Research into the effects of toxic chemicals on the health of children

Philippe Grandjean is an adjunct professor of environmental health at the Harvard School of Public Health[1] and the co-editor-in-chief (along with David Ozonoff of Boston University School of Public Health) of the journal Environmental Health.[2] Grandjean is also the head of the Environmental Medicine Research Unit at the University of Southern Denmark.[3] He is known for his research into the developmental toxicity and adverse effects of certain environmental chemicals to which children are commonly exposed.[4][5]

Education and career[edit]

Born in Denmark in 1950, Grandjean obtained his MD from the University of Copenhagen in 1973 and his PhD in 1979.[1] He began his career conducting field work into mercury poisoning and Minamata disease after seeing a woman with the disease on TV in 1972. This experience led him to spend his career researching neurotoxic substances.[6][7]


Grandjean is known for conducting considerable research into the health effects of mercury in fish, and has spoken out for the maximum levels allowed by the EPA to be lowered by 50%.[8] A 2006 review by Grandjean and Philip Landrigan identified 202 environmental chemicals in the Lancet they described as potentially harmful to children's neurodevelopment. This review also highlighted six of these substances—methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, ethanol, lead, arsenic, and toluene—as the ones with the greatest potential developmental neurotoxicity.[9] At the time this paper had been published, Grandjean said, "The bottom line is you only get one chance to develop a brain," adding that "We have to protect children against chemical pollution because damage to a developing brain is irreversible."[10] A study by Grandjean, published in 2012, found that children's exposure to perfluorinated compounds may decrease the efficacy of vaccines.[5][11] In 2014, Grandjean and Landrigan published an article in The Lancet Neurology which resembled their 2006 review in that it was also about the adverse neurodevelopmental effects of chemicals on children. However, their 2014 study increased the number of environmental chemicals they considered to be harmful from six to twelve.[12] The article also proposed the implementation of a "global prevention strategy" to reduce children's exposure to such chemicals, and encouraged lawmakers not to assume that untested chemicals were "safe to brain development."[4][13]


  1. ^ a b Philippe Grandjean, HSPH Website
  2. ^ Environmental Health Journal Homepage
  3. ^ "Philippe Grandjean". University of Southern Denmark. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Weintraub, Karen (14 February 2014). "Researchers warn of chemical impacts on children". USA Today. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Hamilton, Jon (24 January 2012). "Common Chemicals Could Make Kids' Vaccines Less Effective". NPR. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Main, Douglas (26 September 2013). "The surprising source of most mercury pollution: Gold mining". NBC News. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Williams, Florence (7 December 2013). "How We're Destroying Our Kids' Brains". Mother Jones. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  8. ^ Weise, Elizabeth (19 September 2012). "Take tuna off school menus, group says". USA Today. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  9. ^ Grandjean, P; Landrigan, PJ (December 2006). "Developmental neurotoxicity of industrial chemicals". The Lancet 368 (9553): 2167–2178. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(06)69665-7. PMID 17174709. 
  10. ^ Boyles, Salynn (7 November 2006). "A 'Silent Pandemic' Of Brain Disorders". CBS News. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  11. ^ Grandjean, P.; Andersen, E. W.; Budtz-Jørgensen, E.; Nielsen, F.; Mølbak, K. R.; Weihe, P.; Heilmann, C. (2012). "Serum Vaccine Antibody Concentrations in Children Exposed to Perfluorinated Compounds". JAMA 307 (4). doi:10.1001/jama.2011.2034. 
  12. ^ Hamblin, James (18 March 2014). "The Toxins That Threaten Our Brains". The Atlantic. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  13. ^ Grandjean, P.; Landrigan, P. J. (2014). "Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity". The Lancet Neurology 13 (3): 330. doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(13)70278-3.