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School of Public Health hosts heavy metals environment conference

ANN ARBOR—Mercury pollution, arsenic in drinking water and childhood lead poisoning are among some of the environmental health topics that will be discussed at the International Conference on Heavy Metals in the Environment. The conference will take place Aug. 6-10 at the Michigan League on the University of Michigan campus.

This year marks the silver anniversary of the meeting that has attracted scientists from throughout the world since its first meeting in 1975. Scientists will discuss successes and failures of research on human exposure to toxic metals as well as future challenges of research, said Jerome Nriagu, a U-M professor of public health who is chairman of the conference committee.

Environmental health conferences on heavy metals are not new, but this is the only conference that looks at all heavy metals in the environment. It is the largest forum for presentation of research on the origin, behavior and fate of heavy metals. Risk assessment, environmental epidemiology and human health effects have always been core topics at the conference.

Major themes of the conference include:

—"Top 10" achievements of the 20th century in risk assessment of toxic metals in the environment.

—Susceptibility and protection of children from toxic metals in the environment.

—Measurement and exposure assessment to heavy metals.

—Biomarkers of exposure and effects of heavy metals.

—Soil remediation and soil quality criteria.

—Control strategies for heavy metal emissions and deposition.

—Role of metals in chronic disease and aging.

Papers on the following topics will also be presented: waste management, remediation of contaminated sites, urban and polar metal pollution, environmental data quality, heavy metals in drinking water, heavy metals in foods, metal pollution in historical contexts and environmental epidemiology. Other topics include the effects of heavy metals on rivers, lakes and estuaries and on health.

There will also be a session on poisoning from manganese, which is a component used in gasoline in Canada. Now some U.S. companies are considering adding manganese to gasoline even though recent studies in Canada show it can be as toxic as lead on the central nervous system.

For more information about the conference and for a copy of the schedule, visit the conference Web site at: Research papers that will be presented at the conference are available online.

Registration for the conference is required. For more information about registration, visit the Web site or call (734) 615-2596.

Reporters are invited to attend the conference.

Michigan LeagueJerome Nriagu