Third International Conference on Environmental Toxicology
4 - 6 May 2010
The third International Conference on Environmental Toxicology has recently been held in Cyprus organised by the Wessex Institute of Technology (WIT). The Co-Chairmen were Professor Viktor Popov, Head of the Environmental Fluid Mechanics Division of WIT and Professor Carlos A Brebbia, Director of the same Institute.
The meeting was opened by Professor Popov, who explained the importance of the topic and the work carried out in his Division, some of which was presented at the conference.
The effects of modern society to design and manufacture goods that make human lives easier and more comfortable have provided a story of success in terms of offering constant improvements in our lifestyle. There is another side of the story and this is one which reports increased risks to human health and environment, due to the presence of various harmful substances in the environment. It is questionable whether there is any part of the environment that has been left unchanged and unaffected due to these activities. In many areas close to human settlements, the risks to health increases due to various stressors. Yet, many of us have to accept them, living in cities with the commodities that they offer and the health risks they create.
Environmental toxicology is an interdisciplinary science which integrates biology, microbiology, chemistry, engineering, environmental sciences, ecology and the sciences. Assessment of the environmental effects of chemicals is complicated as it depends on the organisms tested and includes not only the toxicity of individual chemicals; but also the interactive effects, genotoxicity, mutagenicity and immunotoxicity tests. Various substances affect the environment sometimes showing synergenistic effects which are difficult to quantify or predict. These threats require further experimental and theoretical developments in order to produce approaches for characterisation, and appropriate strategies as well as assays for screening in order to detect the harmful agents and prevent them from reaching sensitive values.
Professor Brebbia explained the work carried out at the Wessex Institute of Technology and how this relates to the conference. The Environmental Toxicology meeting aims to create an atmosphere which encourages fruitful interaction and exchange of knowledge and ideas amongst the participants working in industry and government and those employed by universities and research organisations.
Professor Brebbia invited the participants to visit WIT’s campus to find out more about the type of work carried out there and seek ways to affect further collaboration.
There were several invited contributions during the conference which helped to enhance the meeting;
‘Toxicity of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) mixtures using human derived cells’ by C Khalil, University of New South Wales, Australia
‘Carcinogenesis in female mice chronically exposed to sodium arsenate in drinking water for 2 years’ by M Moore, University of Queensland, Australia
‘Biostimulation combined treatments for remediation of diesel contaminated soil’ by C Calvo, University of Granada, Spain
The papers presented at the meeting were divided into the following sessions;
- Human health risk
- Environmental health risk
- Toxicity studies
- Biodegradation, bioremediation and biomonitoring
- New trends in environmental toxicology
Excursions and Conference Dinner
The Wessex Institute of Technology organised a visit to Limassol’s historic centre, which included the well-known Kourion site with its Roman settlement remains, including unique mosaics and a theatre with beautiful views of the seashore. The delegates also visited the ancient castle in the centre of Limassol which is now a museum which bears witness to the rich history of the city during the time of the Crusaders.
The visit finished with a typical Cypriot dinner at a well-known restaurant where the delegates had occasion to taste a wide variety of local specialities, washed down with fine wines for which the island has been renowned since antiquity.
A further excursion took place to Nicosia, organised by the Ministry of Communication and Works. It consisted of a visit to the City Council Chambers where the delegates where given a presentation of the Integrated Transport Plan of the city as well as a synopsis of the problems that the city has faced since 1974 when it was divided into a Turkish and Greek parts. The talk was followed by a walking tour led by one of the executive engineers.
After that the delegates were invited by WIT to have dinner in a local taverna where they were able to sample a wide variety of local dishes and taste excellent Cypriot wines. The occasion was most friendly and helped to strengthen existing links and helped create more contacts.
These and other social functions helped to cement the links between the participants and provided a friendly atmosphere in which to discuss the work opening up for further research collaboration.
Publication of Papers
Papers from the conference will also be hosted online in the WIT eLibrary as Volume 132 of WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment (ISSN: 1743-3541). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://library.witpress.com