Professors John Sumpter and Susan Jobling, who led the project, secured the award for the impact of their two decades of research, which uncovered a link between exposure to water pollution and sex change in male fish in UK rivers, as well as finding evidence that pharmaceuticals consumed by people are inefficiently removed by water treatment processes and pass into rivers and drinking water.
Professor John Sumpter said "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."
As a result of these discoveries, the research also provided stimulus for global research into these issue, including human health research linking chemical exposure with declining sperm counts, increased incidence of male genital abnormalities, and testicular, breast and prostate cancer.
In addition, the Institute has also contributed to the development of a new branch of toxicology, known as 'endocrine disruption' and have been actively involved in finding ways to assess and manage the risks posed by several endocrine disrupting chemicals, including those found in plastics , detergents and contraceptive pill hormones.