The Chemical Heritage Foundation will host the 2007 Gordon Cain Conference, “New Chemical Bodies: Biomonitoring, Body Burden, and the Uncertain Threat of Endocrine Disruptors,” on 22-23 March 2007. The conference is designed to foster cross-disciplinary discussion and collaboration between those working in the chemical, ecological, environmental/public health, and social sciences to address the problems and challenges associated with the use and proliferation of human body burden studies, especially as they relate to research into endocrine disrupting chemicals. We will employ a format focused on discussion rather than paper presentation; as such, this call is for participation rather than specifically for papers (see below for further details). Please submit inquiries and statements of interest to Jody Roberts (firstname.lastname@example.org), Gordon Cain Fellow, Chemical Heritage Foundation. Statements should include an abstract-length (approx. 200 words) description of how your work bears on the issues outlined below, along with appropriate publication(s) or work(s) in progress (graduate students are certainly encouraged to apply). Deadline for submission is ,b>1 December 2006 with notification of acceptance no later than 1 January 2007. Some travel assistance will be available for participants through the Gordon Cain Fellowship.
Background and Prospectus
In July of 2005, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control released its Third National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. Through the process of biomonitoring—measuring the amount of a chemical in a blood or urine sample—the CDC aims to track the accumulation of synthetic chemicals into the human population through direct measurement of the populace. As the report states: “Biomonitoring measurements are the most health-relevant assessments of exposure because they measure the amount of the chemical that actually gets into people from all environmental sources (e.g., air, soil, water, dust, or food) combined.” But just what happens once these chemicals enter our bodies, and what exactly we are to do with this information remains unclear. This conference aims to address the uncertainty that surrounds the now well established fact that organisms of all types, kinds, and geographies—including but certainly not limited to humans—find themselves carrying/composed of a cadre of chemicals heretofore unknown to the planet.
Additionally, the class of chemicals generally referred to as environmental endocrine disruptors presents challenges to our current systems of monitoring and regulating synthetic chemicals in the environment. These chemicals have potential activity at orders of magnitude lower than current dose limits for other toxins. Perhaps more troubling, these chemicals leave no “smoking gun” with effects manifested years if not decades later, and often times in a body only indirectly exposed (such as developing fetuses). Thus, new modes of thinking about these problems seem necessary and timely. Understanding the new chemical bodies of the twenty-first century requires new analytical tools – both instrumental and conceptual. A primary goal for this conference, then, is to begin thinking about what this new set of tools might look like.
The conference will bring together individuals from a diversity of research areas and institutional backgrounds in order to represent and address the breadth and scope of the issues while initiating collaboration towards the construction of new modes of dealing with our new chemical bodies. It will be held over two days and will utilize two different formats. The opening day will feature keynote lectures on topics related to biomonitoring, body burden, and environmental endocrine disruptors. It will provide an opportunity for a public forum where leaders in the field can offer their perspectives on the current state of the fields involved with these issues. The second day of the conference will be devoted to an intensive and focused conversation about the future trajectories of the field. This academic-styled meeting will be smaller and centered on a set of pre-circulated papers from conference participants, designated commentators for each of the papers, and with the remaining time left to open discussion by all participants.
Confirmed participants include:
Terrance Collins (Carnegie Mellon University)
Carl Cranor (University of California, Riverside)
Kim Fortun (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
Scott Frickel (Tulane University)
Nancy Langston (University of Wisconsin)
John Peterson Myers (Environmental Health Sciences)
Jody A. Roberts
Gordon Cain Fellow
Chemical Heritage Foundation
315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
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