Current & Future Challenges in Environmental Health, Toxicology & Food Safety in Central & Eastern Europe
May 3 - 5, 2006
L.I. Medved's Institute of Ecohygiene and Toxicology - Kiev, Ukraine
Purpose of the Meeting
The industrialized countries in North America and Europe share many unwanted outcomes from decades of rapid development in mining, manufacturing, agriculture, urban development, and other areas of concern for the environment. Thousands of hazardous waste sites represent the grim legacy of irresponsible 'progress,' or unrealized risks from man-made activities previously considered to be harmless. While regional differences exist in the types of chemicals, size and type of contaminated sites, and a potential for re-use of these areas, the hazardous nature of environmental pollution at exorbitantly high levels and the uncertainty of the magnitude of health risks associated with such waste sites are important international issues.
Knowledge that has been developed in the NIEHS Superfund Basic Research Program is critical for identifying the types of toxicity induced and the conditions of exposure that result in disease; recognizing mechanisms of intoxication; determining bioavailability relevant to various routes of exposure; and developing biomarkers of exposure and effect that cover exposures ranging from the high-dose exposures traditionally used in toxicological research to low-dose exposure scenarios likely to exist at Superfund sites. Equally important is a focus on more accurate assessment of risk associated with Superfund sites and reduction of risk through the evaluation and development of remediation technologies. In turn, many governmental and academic research centers in Central and Eastern Europe have been collecting information on health effects of soil, air, food and water contamination at the local hazardous waste sites; studying the mechanisms of such harmful effects on the human body; and devising and testing novel remediation technologies.
The economic stagnation and a period of political instability in Eastern and Central Europe in the 1990s diminished the public's perception of the importance of environmental issues and problems in the region. To the contrary, harmful industrial and agricultural practices and cases of dumping of hazardous waste have increased sharply due to insufficient enforcement and oversight from the authorities busy sorting out the consequences of a new political reality. However, in the last few years the new governments, political movements, and non-governmental organizations alike pushed environmental health close to the top of the agenda at national, regional and international levels. Now is a ripe time to link decades of development that have established the basic science foundation supporting decision-making in risk assessment and cleanup of hazardous waste sites in the United States, with the needs of the rapidly growing economies of Eastern and Central Europe in order to build a foundation for exchanging ideas, scientific advances, and technologies in biomedical and non-biomedical areas. This conference will assist by bringing top environmental health researchers, young scientists, students, and practitioners from North America and Western Europe together with their colleagues from Eastern and Central Europe.
Local Organizing Committee Contact:
- George Prodanchuk, M.D.
University of North Carolina Contact:
Ivan Rusyn, M.D., Ph.D.
UNC Contact, UNC Chapel Hill
Tel (919) 843-2596