Jan C. Van der Leun
In the 1970s, few were aware of the depletion of the ozone layer. Today this phenomenon is at the forefront of the global environmental agenda, thanks to the work of Professor Jan C. van der Leun, among others. He has played a pivotal role in the assessment of ozone depletion on both human and animal health. Professor van der Leun of The Netherlands understood early in his scientific research that ozone depletion, with its potentially grave long-term consequences, needed immediate attention from the global community. He keenly evaluated the effects of ultra-violet (UV) radiation on skin, and more specifically the correlation between UV rays and skin cancer. As co-chairman of the Panel on Environmental Effects of Ozone Depletion since 1988, he has presided over the process to bring together all the facts available on the adverse impact of ozone depletion on the planet's ecosystems. It is this Panel's report which persuaded governments to agree to phase out, within a specific timeframe, the consumption of ozone depleting substances. As a result, the chemical industry is working on the development of alternatives to these substances, and in a most unusual turn of events, the actual progress is now ahead of the political agreements. Since 1993, Jan C. Van der Leun has been Professor Emeritus at Utrecht University in The Netherlands, and from 1972 to 1993, he was Head of the Photodermatology Unit at the Institute of Dermatology at the same University.