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Herbert L. Needleman, MD, a pediatrician, psychiatrist, and public health hero, died on July 18, 2017, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was 89 years old. Dr. Needleman leaves a legacy of improved health for children across this country and the world. He was internationally renowned for pioneering scientific research on the effects of lead in children. His research linked low levels of lead exposure to lowered I.Q., poor school performance, and behavioral problems, including juvenile delinquency. Dr. Needleman's work played a critical role in the United States government's decision to remove lead from gasoline, a move that is credited with drastically reducing blood lead levels of American children. Dr. Needleman received numerous awards for his work, including the Heinz Award for the Environment, the Charles A. Dana Award, the Prince Mahidol Award of Thailand, the Ramazzini award of Carpi, Italy, and the University of Pittsburgh's Chancellor's Award for Community Service. Born into an immigrant family of Philadelphia pickle makers, Dr. Needleman was the first in his family to attend college. He went on to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Dr. Needleman completed residencies in both pediatrics and psychiatry. He served as a Captain in the United States Army. Known to many as a formidable advocate for the disadvantaged, Dr. Needleman had a strong sense of social justice and a big, caring heart. It was these characteristics that led him to abandon private medical practice and devote his life to protecting children from harm. In 1966, he founded and led the Committee of Responsibility to Save War-Burned and War-Injured Vietnamese Children (known as COR), an organization of American doctors, scientists, clergy, and other concerned citizens who brought injured Vietnamese children to the United States for medical care. In 1967, Dr. Needleman and fellow pediatrician Benjamin Spock were jailed during an anti-war protest at the Pentagon. Around this time, Dr. Needleman began his study of the effects of low levels of lead in children, ultimately publishing more than 80 peer-reviewed scientific papers and a parenting book on the topic. During his career, Dr. Needleman held academic positions in the medical schools of Temple University, Harvard University, and the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Needleman was sharply criticized by the lead industry, whose business was damaged by the government's increased regulation of lead and efforts to clean up lead-polluted areas and houses. Attempts to discredit Dr. Needleman culminated in allegations of scientific misconduct in 1991. After extensive investigation and a lengthy hearing, no misconduct was found. Dr. Needleman's research has been replicated numerous times and is the foundation for later studies showing harmful effects at even lower levels of exposure. Dr. Needleman is survived by his beloved wife of 54 years, Roberta; his three children, Samuel, Joshua (Yael), and Sara Kline (Stephan); seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Services at Rodef Shalom Temple, 4905 Fifth Avenue (at Morewood) on Friday at 10 a.m. NO PRIOR VISITATION. Interment West View Cemetery of Rodef Shalom Congregation. Contributions may be made to the Herbert Needleman Memorial c/o the International Society for Children's Health and the Environment (ISCHE) Attn. WJ Weiser, 1100 E. Woodfield Road, Suite 350, Schaumburg, IL 60173 or to the Anathan Club of the Jewish Association on Aging, 300 JHF Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15217. Arrangements entrusted to RALPH SCHUGAR CHAPEL, INC. www.schugar.com.

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Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Jul. 20 to Jul. 21, 2017.
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Memories & Condolences
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8 entries
October 30, 2017
I'm sorry to hear of Dr. Needelman's death. As a physician who takes care of lead-poisoned children, I have relied on his work to do mine everyday. His life is an inspiration to anyone who advocates for children's health.
Nick Newman
August 27, 2017
With regret I read of the death of Herbert L. Needleman, MD: I send my condolences to his family and friends.

Also reading of his defense from lead poisoning and knowing that neighboring intruding erosion and contamination including lead ammunition from neighboring lands near our originating Swetcharnik Spring has not been easy to defend, his sounds like educational research heroism for the times that we live in.

Sara Morris Swetcharnik
email: sara@swetcharnik.com - telephone: 301.829.0137 - website: swetcharnik.com

For mail (and open by appointment):
Sara Morris Swetcharnik
Swetcharnik Home, Art Studio & Wildlife Preserve
7044 Woodville Road
Mt Airy, MD 21771 (USA)
Sara Swetcharnik
July 22, 2017
Roberta, my deepest and most hear-felt condolences to you and your family. I know you will always cherish the many wonderful years you and Herb had together. JoEllen Welsh (Safe Kids many years ago)
JoEllen Welsh
July 21, 2017
He was a great and courageous man who stood against the onslaught of industry. I usually always mention him when delivering a lecture on metals particularly lead. He is a source of inspiration to those who struggle to bring the scientific truth before the public to protect public health. May God bless his soul.
Tushar Joshi
July 21, 2017
My heartfelt condolences to you and your family Roberta. Laura Schoch from Phipps Conservatory
July 20, 2017
Be like American hero Herbert Needlemen : and Keep Getting The Lead Out
Rest in Peace Dr. Needlemen . Thank you for what you have done for humanity. The planet owes you a world of gratitude for your efforts to stop childhood lead poisoning. My sincerest condolences to your family, friends and colleagues. You provided me solace after my own families plumbism; and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart. In your memory , and in memory of those lost to lead poisoning; I will honor your legacy as we continue to get the lead out.
Mr. Rogers once said : Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me. Gratitude for your help to all of us; and for your contributions to science and progress. Sincerely, Kimberly Cole and Julia Lead the Way Lead Poisoning Awareness group and Cause

Kim Cole
July 20, 2017
When I was at NRDC, I went to an EPA hearing on the banning of lead in gasoline with Dr. Needleman. That was the first time I met him. As I remember, it was just him, me, several EPA scientist and a huge troop of representatives from the lead industry. I have never heard someone who spoke with such conviction, determination, courage and clarity. From that moment on, he was became one of my all time life heroes. And he has been a guiding light throughout my entire environmental career. I morn his passing, but he was one of the truly great people I have known. He has done so much for the world's children and leaves a legacy of kindness, commitment and caring. We are all blessed by the work he accomplished. Robin Whyatt
July 20, 2017
He was a giant in his field. I occasionally ate with him at Boston Children's.
Steven Marcus
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