Henk A. Tennekes graduated from the Agricultural University of Wageningen, The Netherlands, in 1974, and performed his Ph.D. work on the carcinogenicity of the insecticide dieldrin at Shell Research Ltd in Sittingbourne in the UK. He worked at the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg from 1980 - 1985 (and mentored by renowned oncologist Hermann Druckrey) and was Chief Toxicologist at RCC Research and Consulting Company AG, a maj or contract research organisation in Switzerland from 1986 - 1992.
In 1992, Dr. Tennekes established an independent consultancy for product safety assessment, ETS Experimental Toxicology Services BV, which has served leading companies in the chemical industry over the past two decades, with an excellent record of achievement.
Dr. Tennekes was Secretary of the Toxicology Section of the Swiss Society of Pharmacology and Toxicology from 1992 - 1998 and a Member of the Board of Directors of the Swiss Register of Toxicologists from 1996 - 2000.
Henk Tennekes has authored important papers in the field of toxicological research, most recently a chapter in a text book on Cancer Risk Assessment, published by John Wiley & Sons.
The culmination of Dr Tennekes' research was his recent discovery (Toxicology 2010: 276, 1-4) that the relationship between exposure concentration and lethal effect in arthropods for a new generation of insecticides, the so-called neonicotinoids, has much in common with that established by Druckrey for genotoxic chemical carcinogens-cancer-causing agents, the implication being that very stringent risk asessment procedures would have to be applied to a category of pesticides used all over the world in intensive agriculture. In particular, he inferred that the risks associated with longer term exposure of invertebrates to the low concentrations of these persistent pesticides prevailing in the environment had been seriously underestimated.
When he realized the dire consequences of environmental pollution with these insecticides, i.e., the possible extinction of the invertebrates such as honey bees and butterflies, and, consequently, of invertebrate-dependent species, such as fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammalian species (e.g. bats, hedgehogs, non-human primates), he decided to write the now famous book “The Systemic Insecticides: A Disaster in the Making”, published in November 2010, to warn the general public about an impending environmental catastrophe. His groundbreaking work played an important role in bringing about partial bans on neonicotinoids in Europe.