Workshop to Focus on Chemicals in Environment

Environmental Sciences Research Initiative funds event that will bring together scientists and policy-makers

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“Pharmaceuticals in the Environment: Lessons Learned” is the theme of an all-day workshop that will bring together environmental science and public policy Feb. 27 on campus. Participants will discuss endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the environment, as well as research and policy on new chemicals.

Prof. Andreas Heyland, Integrative Biology, says few pharmaceuticals are present in high enough amounts in the environment to harm aquatic plants and animals. But growing public concern has led policy-makers to focus on these products at the expense of addressing risks posed by new chemicals — so-called “chemicals of concern” — such as flame retardants and nanomaterials.

Correcting the balance is the purpose of the workshop, which starts at 9 a.m. in the science complex atrium. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Among the speakers is Jerrold Heindel of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, who will discuss developmental origins of disease. U of G political science professor Judith McKenzie will examine the effects of pharmaceutical contaminants on the health of women and children.

The roster also includes Karen Kidd of the University of New Brunswick (fish contraception), Vance Trudeau of the University of Ottawa (effects of pharmaceuticals on sex hormones in aquatic animals), Bryan Brooks of Baylor University (water quality and chemicals of concern) and Lynn Frewer of Wageningen University (public perceptions of risk).

The day will wrap up with a discussion and question period, followed by a poster session and social.

Sponsored by the School of Environmental Sciences (SES), the workshop is funded by U of G’s Environmental Sciences Research Initiative (ESRI), a cross-campus initiative involving all seven colleges. Last year, a group led by Heyland received ESRI seed funding intended to develop a full environmental research project, including this event.

Besides Heyland and master’s student Ashley Miller, organizers are Profs. Glen Van Der Kraak, Integrative Biology; Keith Solomon and Paul Sibley, SES; and Hongde Zhou, Engineering.

To register for the workshop, send email to amille01@uoguelph.ca or call Ext. 58569. The deadline for graduate and undergraduate students to submit abstracts for poster displays is Feb. 15. For more information, visit www.comparativephys.ca/ESRI_Workshop.