Chemical pollution is recognised as one of the main determinants for non-communicable diseases and the deterioration of the natural environment. The production of synthetic chemicals has diversified and has led to a widely spread blanket of contamination composed of myriads of chemicals. These substances, many of them untested for their toxicity, enter the environment and threaten wildlife and human health, air, soil and water quality as well as water and food supply.
Building on the strong track record of Brunel staff, the main objective of this Research Centre is to address the societal need for the protection of human health and the environment from harmful chemical pollution in a rapidly changing world. We aspire to achieve impact by conducting research in key strategic areas of high political relevance, but weak scientific underpinning, and aim at improving the scientific foundations for new policies and regulatory priorities for pollution control.
The Centre is led by Professor Andreas Kortenkamp. His research activities are in exploring environmental pollutants and their combined effects on endocrine diseases. He has a strong interest in, and track record of, translating this knowledge into new practices and policies for pollution control. His work has shaped policy approaches for improving health protection from harmful effects of chemicals by taking account of mixture effects. He has made a substantial contribution to building up knowledge that challenges the traditional single chemical focus of risk assessment and management.
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Kortenkamp has served on the US National Academy of Sciences Panel on mixture risk assessment for phthalates, and on the National Academy of Sciences Panel investigating non-monotonic dose-response relationships. On the recommendation of the president of the US National Academy of Sciences, he became a member of the US Consumer Health Advisory Panel on the assessment of phthalates. In 2012 he completed the State of the Art Assessment of Endocrine Disrupters for the European Commission. He was a member of the World Health Organisation / United Nation Environmental Programme panel for evaluating the state of the science of endocrine disruption 2012. He was involved with several working groups of the European Food Safety Authority on developing grouping criteria for mixture risk assessment for pesticides. He currently serves on the German Human Biomonitoring Commission. Kortenkamp has attracted major European funding and has a track record of achievement in leading and managing large international EU-funded consortia (EDEN, CONTAMED) and associated project clusters (CREDO, NECTAR).
He currently coordinates the ATHENA EU-funded project on development of test methods for thyroid hormone system-disrupting chemicals and is a partner in HBM4EU, GOLIATH and ATHLETE. Kortenkamp is regularly asked to contribute to national and international TV programmes, most recently BBC “Trust me I’m a doctor” and “Horizon”. His work has received 11,917 citations with a h-index of 61 (google scholar, 14 Oct 2020). COM (2012) Communication from the Commission to the Council, The Combination Effects of Chemicals, COM (2012) 252 final, see page 3, footnote 5, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52012DC0252&from=EN