Ok, so this is slightly old news but it seemed like a good way to get this blog started…
This is taken from the Brunel University news pages, dated 24th November, 2011.
Brunel Institute for the Environment’s research revealing the link between chemicals in rivers and reproductive health has won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.
By uncovering a link between exposure to water pollution and sex change in male fish in UK rivers, Professor John Sumpter’s research team provided the impetus for human health research also linking chemical exposure with declining sperm counts, increased incidence of male genital abnormalities, and testicular, breast and prostate cancer in human populations.
This ground-breaking new area of research now shows that a plethora of chemicals in everyday use are inefficiently removed by sewage treatment, passing into rivers and eventually into the drinking water supply. Many of these chemicals, including those found in contraceptive pills and dishwasher tablet ingredients, can interfere with or mimic hormones in the body, leading to problems with reproductive health.
Led by Professor Susan Jobling, the Institute was selected for the Queen’s Anniversary Prize as a leading example of excellence not just in research, but also in the global impact of its work. Through their engagement with policy makers, regulators and industries, the Institute’s researchers have been instrumental in helping to find cost-effective ways of managing the risk posed by these chemicals, including new wastewater treatment processes to remove them or restrictions and bans on their production.
Professor John Sumpter, Brunel University:
The long-term aim of our research and teaching is to ensure that society thinks more carefully about the use of chemicals and the impact they have on the environment. Our health and the health of our rivers are of great importance, so we’re honoured to receive this recognition of our work at the Institute for the Environment.
Professor Chris Jenks, Vice-Chancellor of Brunel University:
Brunel University is delighted to receive this recognition of our globally influential research carried out by the Institute for the Environment. We pride ourselves on being at the cutting edge of research at Brunel University and the work of Professor John Sumpter and his team is a fine example of our research excellence.