Philippe Grandjean

Dr. Grandjean was a panelist for the Forum’s discussion on Chemical Exposures and the Brain.

Philippe Grandjean was born in Denmark in 1950. He graduated with his MD from the University of Copenhagen at age 23, and six years later he defended his doctoral thesis on the ‘Widening perspectives of lead toxicity’. He became Professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Southern Denmark in 1982. A Fulbright Senior Scholarship award brought him to Mt.Sinai Hospital in New York, and he later served as Adjunct Professor of Neurology and Environmental Health at Boston University. In 2003, he became Adjunct Professor of Environmental Health at Harvard University. In 2004, he received an unusual recognition – the Mercury Madness Award for excellence in science in the public interest, from eight US environmental organizations. He has also received the Science Communication Award from the University of Southern Denmark, and in 2015, he received the Bernardino Ramazzini Award for “his long career conducting and promoting environmental health research, especially his groundbreaking work on the effects of methylmercury and other environmental toxins affecting children and for his tireless advocacy of the need to protect future generations from the devastating effects of neuro- and developmental toxins.” He lives in Copenhagen, Denmark and in Cambridge, MA, and travels widely to study environmental problems and to examine children whose lives have been affected by pollution, more specifically, the delayed effects of developmental exposure to environmental chemicals.

His most recent projects examine brain development and immune functions in regard to exposures to environmental pollutants, such as perfluorinated compounds and mercury. The results have inspired downward revisions of methylmercury exposure limits internationally and, most recent, the UN’s Minamata Convention. Other recent studies have targeted age-related functional deficits and degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes in regard to life-time exposure to methylmercury, arsenic, persistent lipophilic contaminants, and perfluorinated compounds. Other efforts relate to biomarker development and validation, endocrine disruption caused by organochlorine substances. adverse effects of fluoride exposure, and the neurotoxicity of lead. Dr. Grandjean has also published on research ethics, genetic susceptibility, the setting of exposure limits, and the impact of the precautionary principle on prevention and research.