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Tuesday, November 17, 1998, 12:00 a.m. EDT
Mercury Scientific Issues Workshop Nov. 18-20, 1998 in Raleigh, NC
Federal organizations involved in the protection of human health and the environment will hold a scientific workshop Nov. 18-20 in Raleigh, N.C., to discuss the scientific issues surrounding assessment of the possible human health effects of exposure to methylmercury from fish and other seafood. A key objective of the workshop is to achieve consensus on the scientific basis used to assess health effects of methylmercury arising from various exposures.
The meeting, which is open to the press and public, will consider various findings from major studies of populations in Iraq, the Seychelles and the Faeroe Islands, and the Amazon which have attempted to determine what levels of methylmercury might affect the development of human fetuses. The scientists conducting these studies will be among the invited workshop participants.
Other mercury exposures possible from dental fillings, occupational and other environmental sources will be discussed as possible confounders of the data, along with PCBs, alcohol use and diabetes.
The organizing committee is chaired by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (http://www.niehs.nih.gov), which is an institute of the federal National Institutes of Health (http://www.nih.gov) , with representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (http://www.epa.gov) ; the Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Food and Drug Administration (http://www.fda.gov) , and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov/) ; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (http://www.noaa.gov) ; the Office of Science and Technology Policy (http://www.ostp.gov/) ; and the Office of Management and Budget (http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/) . NIEHS is located in Research Triangle Park (http://www.rtp.org/) adjacent to Raleigh.
Besides the invited scientists, other scientists and lay persons will be welcome and may make five-minute comments at the meeting at the Brownestone Hotel in Raleigh or written comments of any length. In order to be considered by the workshop participants, written comments should be received by Nov. 16 by the NTP Liaison & Scientific Review Office, NIEHS, PO Box 12233, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709.
Registration and hotel information may be obtained by calling the liaison office at (919) 541-0530. Registration and a check or money order for $50 is requested by Nov. 16.
NIEHS Awarded Best Budget Increase in 15 Years
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, one of the pioneer scientific organizations in Research Triangle Park, has received a budget of more than $375 million for 1999, Institute Director Kenneth Olden, Ph.D., said today, "our best budget increase in 15 years." In addition, transfers of Superfund research and training funds will add $60 million, for a total over $435 million.
The 1999 direct appropriation of $375,743,000 that was approved by Congress and signed by the President is 14.3 percent over the fiscal year 1998 actual of $328.7 million, Dr. Olden said. The Administration's request was $355.8 million.
The last such increase that NIEHS employees recall occurred 15 years ago when the National Toxicology Program was transferred to NIEHS headquarters.
In addition to the $375 million, NIEHS will receive $60 million in 1999 in Superfund money for basic research and training related to improved clean-ups of spills and toxic dumps. Most of this Superfund money is collected as a tax on industries with a pollution potential or history and, is funneled through the Environmental Protection Agency to NIEHS, which is a part of the National Institutes of Health.
About the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS): NIEHS supports research to understand the effects of the environment on human health and is part of the National Institutes of Health. For more information on NIEHS or environmental health topics, visit www.niehs.nih.gov or subscribe to a news list.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
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