International Environment and Health Conference Comes to NUI Galway

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

NUI Galway will host International Conference and Workshops of the Society for Environmental Geochemistry and Health (SEGH) from 27 June until 2 July 2010. The focus of the event will be on Environmental Quality and Human Health. This conference and workshops, organised by NUI Galway's School of Geography and Archaeology, Environmental Change Institute (ECI) and the Health Service Executive (HSE) provide an internationally leading forum for interaction between scientists, consultants, and public servants engaged in the multi-disciplinary areas of environment and health. Participants of the conference represent expertise in a diverse range of scientific fields, including: biology, engineering, geology, hydrology, epidemiology, chemistry, medicine, nutrition, and toxicology, as well as regulatory and industrial communities. The theme of SEGH 2010 "Environmental Quality and Human Health" is one of the most challenging issues that human beings are currently facing. Human activities have impacted our environment at an increasing speed, leading to changes in the quality of air, water, soil and food. More and more questions regarding the relationship between environmental quality and human health remain to be answered. A wide range of topics will be explored throughout the conference, encompassing technical aspects of geochemistry ,biochemistry, environmental impacts of climate change and human activities and, as well as the perception and communication of environmental health risks and social inequality. Keynote speakers at the conference include: Professor Iain Thornton, Former SEGH Chair, Imperial College and Imperial College Consultants London, who will receive a lifetime achievement award at SEGH 2010. Professor Shu Tao, Peking University, China, Dr Olle Selinus, Sweden, and Professor Luke Clancy, Director General, Research Institute for a Tobacco Free Society will also speak. There is an organized conference session on "House Dust", which aims to explore the health implications associated with house dust. There will also be two workshops of MULTITUDE (Multiple Links Towards Integrating Teams for Understanding of Disease and Environment) and "Vapour Behaviour and Assessment at Contaminated Sites-Risks Posed to Human Health", running in parallel with the conference sessions. NUI Galway's Dr Chaosheng Zhang, SEGH 2010 Chair, says: "Ireland is traditionally an agricultural country, but we still cannot escape from environmental pollution and its potential danger to our health. Without exception, in Ireland we are facing pressing problems of air pollution, water pollution, agricultural pollution and traffic pollution. The legacy issues of contaminated land in Ireland have recently been highlighted, such as South Park in Galway, Silvermines in Tipperary, and Haulbowline Island in Cork. Specifically South Park and Silvermines have been chosen as the conference fieldtrip sites. "This is a valuable opportunity for Irish colleagues working in the field of environment and health to foster, develop and strengthen international links and collaborations. I hope this conference will help to raise both research and management in environment and health in Ireland to a new level" Dr Zhang added. The conference is sponsored by the Environmental Protection (EPA) Agency, Fáilte Ireland, Environmental Health Officers' Association, Ordnance Survey Ireland, Canadian Shield Research and National Roads Authority (NRA).
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