NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) staff and grantees focused on environmental health issues in changing economies at the Central and Eastern European Conference on Health and the Environment (CEECHE), June 10 – 14 in Krakow, Poland. The conference, sponsored in part by the SRP, provided a forum for scientists, engineers, and organizations to focus on Central and Eastern European environmental health concerns, which also will inform practices around the world. Presentations, including several by SRP grantees, described the health effects of exposure to environmental chemicals and highlighted promising approaches to prevent or reduce pollutants in the region. Sessions highlighted health risks and solutions for atmospheric air pollution, environmental issues at former military sites in Central and Eastern Europe, coastal and aquifer pollution, health impacts of mining activities, and other emerging environmental health topics.
SRP Centers at Louisiana State University and the University of Kentucky collaborated to organize the conference.
"CEECHE integrates scientific disciplines to help us solve environmental health issues in this region and elsewhere," said SRP Director Bill Suk, Ph.D. During his plenary talk, Suk discussed emerging and recurring environmental health issues and the importance of advancing science as environmental concerns emerge.
During the meeting, scientists presented data linking exposures to various environmental chemicals with significant health impacts, including infertility, birth defects, cardiovascular disease, and increased mortality associated with infections. Other scientists presented innovative ways to combat pollution. For example, scientists described how effective planting and management of trees that can accumulate heavy metals from soil may improve urban green areas and reduce pollution.
SRP Health Scientist Administrator Heather Henry, Ph.D., gave an overview of SRP grantees who are developing innovative tools and methods for coastal and aquifer remediation and monitoring.
Slawomir Lomnicki, Ph.D., from the Louisiana State University SRP Center, served as a CEECHE 2018 conference co-chair, along with Stanisław Gawronski, Ph.D., of the Warsaw University of Life Sciences. Together, they worked closely with conference program committee co-chairs Kelly Pennell, Ph.D., assistant director of the University of Kentucky SRP, and Florian Gambus, from the University of Agriculture in Krakow.