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Environmental Chemistry and Health 2020

27 April, 2020 - 29 April, 2020 | Xi Jiao Hotel, Beijing, China

Conference Sessions

  • Human Exposure to Emerging Contaminants

Session Chairs:
Adrian Covaci, University of Antwerp, Belgium
Hongwen Sun, Nankai University, Tianjin, China
Kurunthachalam Kannan, State University of New York at Albany, New York, USA

“Emerging contaminants” (ECs) is a term commonly used to broadly classify chemicals that do not fall under standard monitoring and regulatory programmes but may be candidates for future regulations. These chemicals have not been studied extensively before, and are thought to be potential threats to human health and safety. In recent decades, because of significant analytical chemistry advances,  several ECs have been discovered in human specimens. The most prevalent ECs include among others, perfluorinated alkylated substances, water disinfection byproducts, gasoline additives, flame retardants, plasticizers, and UV-filters. Assessing exposures and health consequences of ECs can be challenging. Some of these emerging contaminants have the potential to interfere with normal endocrine functions. Measurements in exposure media are frequently insufficient and can be challenging, chemicals are present in mixtures, exposure periods are usually long and sometimes episodic, multiple exposure routes may be involved, and valid biomarkers reflecting the relevant exposure periods are scarce. This session will present recent trends related to the human exposure to ECs, including analytical methods (target, suspect screening and non-target screening), characterization of exposure pathways, biomonitoring trends in the general and/or exposed population, metabolism (distribution and excretion) pathways, and  modeling of human exposure. The session will also address the epidemiology of ECs and concerns about potential harmful health effects of ECs in the general population.

  • Analysis and Toxicity of Microplastics

Session Chairs:
Damià Barceló, Spanish National Research Council, Barcelona, Spain
Lei Wang, Nankai University, Tianjin, China;
Alexandros Asimakopoulos, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

Plastic debris in environmental compartments is subject to oxidation, chain scission, cross-linking, and consequently, embrittlement and erosion/fragmentation to smaller particles. Microplastic is therefore typically defined as plastic particles between 1 and 5000 μm in size, which can further decompose to even smaller ones, also known as submicroplastic (1000~100 nm) and nanoplastic particles (<100 nm). The distribution of microplastic in the environment is currently poorly characterized and largely unknown due to the difficulty to sample and measure those in a standardized manner. As the plastic particles get smaller, their potential uptake by smaller organisms is higher.

Decomposition of plastic can also result in loss of polymer fragments, which are small molecules consisting of only one or several polymer units: monomers and oligomers, respectively. Residues from the manufacturing process (solvents, catalysts, lubricants) and additives of microplastic can be another major source of environmental pollution. Weathering of microplastics can in many cases cause further chemical transformation of such polymers/additives with unknown toxicity effects. In addition, microplastic debris can adsorb other hydrophobic substances on their surface from the environment and actually act as vectors of pollution. Thus, to protect environmental resources from microplastics, it is important to identify occurrence, fate, sources and the toxicity of those. In addition, relevant contaminants and by‐products need to be also identified to mitigate toxicity impacts, and for assessing exposure and health risks. This session is focused on microplastics identification in the environment, as well as toxicity identification and evaluation of associated contaminants.

  • Emerging Contaminants in Treated Waters: Advanced Removal Technologies and Toxicity Evaluation

Session Chairs: 
Kurunthachalam Kannan, State University of New York at Albany, New York, USA
Damià Barceló, Spanish National Research Council, Barcelona, Spain

The issues related to water scarcity worldwide require new strategies to reclaim and reuse water resources. This concerns not only to the future water demand for agricultural and industrial purposes, but also for public water consumption.  Water scarcity is further exacerbated by problems such as contamination of available groundwater and freshwater resources in both urban and rural areas.  With rapid industrialization and urbanization, a variety of new pollutants (emerging contaminants) have been discovered in drinking water, and it is necessary for the water treatments systems to be consistently updated to remove pollutants.  Due to the diversity of pollutants and sources, the management of the resources is usually complex and challenging.  Besides, disinfection byproducts, the presence of xenobiotics, including endocrine disruptors, pharmaceuticals and personal care products, pesticides, and various industrial additives, among others, in the aquatic environment has raised concerns about the impact of these emerging contaminants on the environment and public health.  To protect water resources from such contaminants, it is important to identify sources, nature and toxicity of contaminants and by‐products formed during treatments, developing/improving treatment technologies to mitigate the release and impacts, and for assessing exposure and health risks.  This session is focused on emerging contaminants identified in drinking water and wastewater treatment technologies and formation of various by-products of treatment, advanced techniques available to remove pollutants, as well as toxicity identification and evaluation of contaminants in water resources. 

  • Emerging Contaminants in Biota

Session Chairs: 
Alexandros Asimakopoulos, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
Adrian Covaci, University of Antwerp, Belgium
Kurunthachalam Kannan, State University of New York at Albany, New York, USA

Evidence has been accumulating that new chemical contaminants continue to emerge in the environment as analytical detection techniques advance. Personal care products, plasticizers, synthetic and natural estrogens, industrial by-products and other substances are commonly found in the environment and biota worldwide. The physicochemical properties of these chemicals (e.g., water solubility, vapour pressure and polarity) along with environmental factors determine their behavior, transport and fate in the environment. These chemicals appear as complex mixtures, having various sources, which raises concerns about potential interactive effects of emerging contaminants (ECs) in biota. Assessing exposure pathways and health consequences of ECs is challenging. Some of these ECs have the potential to interfere with endocrine functions of organisms, modulating or disrupting hormonally regulated mechanisms as well as producing adverse effects at trace concentrations. Measurements in exposure media are frequently deemed insufficient, chemicals are present in mixtures, exposure periods are usually long, multiple exposure routes may be involved, and valid and sensitive biomarkers reflecting the relevant exposures are scarce. This session will focus on recent trends in emerging contaminants, including analytical methods (target, suspect screening and non-target screening), characterization of exposure pathways, biomonitoring trends and biomarkers of exposure, metabolic (distribution and excretion) pathways in organisms, fates and ecosystem exposure modelling. The session will also address toxicology of emerging contaminants in aquatic and terrestrial biota.  

  • Emerging Contaminants in Asian Multiple Environment

Session Chairs:
Gang Yu, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
Jeong-Eun Oh, Pusan National University, Busan, Korea
Jun Huang, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

Description TBC

  • Emerging Contaminants in the Abiotic Environment: Sources, Levels, Trends and Environmental Implications

Session Chair: 
Stuart Harrad, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

This session covers presentations that address issues related to the presence of emerging contaminants in the abiotic environment including air, soil, water, and sediment. Source attribution and apportionment studies are welcome, along with those that report on spatial and temporal trends in contamination. Presentations on studies that assess the environmental risk of emerging contaminants in the abiotic environment are also appreciated.

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