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Herbert L. Needleman


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Herbert Leroy Needleman, known for research studies on the neurodevelopmental damage caused by lead poisoning, was a pediatrician, child psychiatrist, researcher and professor at the University of Pittsburgh, an elected member of the Institute of Medicine, and the founder of the Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning. Dr. Needleman played a key role in securing some of the most significant environmental health protections achieved during the 20th century, which resulted in a fivefold reduction in the prevalence of lead poisoning among children in the United States by the early 1990s. Despite engendering strong resistance from related industries, which made him the target of frequent attacks, Needleman persisted in campaigning to educate stakeholders, including parents and government panels, about the dangers of lead poisoning. Needleman has been credited with having played the key role in triggering environmental safety measures that have reduced average blood lead levels by an estimated 78 percent between 1976 and 1991. He died in Pittsburgh in 2017.
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