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Environmental Health Symposium April 5


U.S., Mexico Environmental Health Symposium April 5

Cross-border research in toxic exposure and contamination will be featured in UC Riverside event.

(March 17, 2011)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – A one-day environmental health symposium highlighting research related to toxic exposure and contamination in Mexico and the United States will be held at UC Riverside on Tuesday, April 5.

The symposium, “Toxic Earth: Toxic Bodies, Binational Perspectives in Environmental Health,” is sponsored by the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States (UC MEXUS), Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT), and the One Health Center of the UC Global Health Institute. It is free and open to the public. A luncheon and evening reception are included with preregistration by March 22. To preregister go to ucmexus.ucr.edu, or call (951) 827-3586.

The keynote speakers are Thomas J. Coates, Michael and Sue Steinberg Professor of Global AIDS Research at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and co-director of the UC Global Health Institute; and Horacio Riojas Rodriguez, director of environmental health at the Population Health Research Center of Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health (INSP).

Coates is known internationally for his research in HIV prevention, the relationship of prevention and treatment for HIV, and HIV policies. Rodriguez is the academic coordinator of the health science graduate program at INSP, with a focus on environmental health and protection against sanitary risks.

UC Riverside’s long tradition of cross-border collaboration, a growing interest in the medical sciences, and a high population of Latinos and Mexicans makes the campus an ideal location to host the symposium, said Exequiel Ezcurra, director of UC MEXUS.

“In half a century Mexico has changed from an eminently rural society to a society with some of the largest urban concentrations on Earth, where industrial contaminants, processed foods, air pollution, and pesticide-based agricultural products play a major role in everyday life,” he said, noting that the symposium will convene experts from the University of California and Mexico with binational research ties and with perspectives from the medical, health, and environmental sciences.

Environmental pollution is emerging as one of the biggest risk factors for health in developing countries, said Anil Deolalikar, associate dean of the UC Riverside College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences and co-director of the One Health Center of the UC Global Health Institute.

“This symposium will bring together leading experts from Mexico and California to discuss the health risks arising from toxic exposure and contamination in the two countries as well as the policy responses that will be required to meet this challenge,” he said.

The detection, effects, and amelioration of toxic contamination do not fall into one category of research, but rather require the combined efforts of experts in multiple fields and countries, said Andrea Kaus, UC MEXUS director of research programs.

“This symposium will highlight the results of some of these research projects as they relate to contamination in the home, air, water and land. It will also emphasize the productive synergy that arises through binational collaboration and research exchange with Mexico and through multi-disciplinary work that connects environmental and human health issues,” she said. “The symposium is particularly timely for UC Riverside as the Inland Empire and Riverside were named recently in a few national top ten lists for toxic contamination risks.”

UC MEXUS was established in 1980 as an academic research institute dedicated to encouraging, securing, and contributing to binational and Latino research and collaborative academic programs and exchanges with Mexico. It is headquartered at UC Riverside and serves all 10 UC campuses as well as associated laboratories and research centers.

El Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology, abbreviated CONACYT) is Mexico's entity dedicated to increasing the country’s scientific and technological capacity, elevating the quality, competitiveness and innovation for business enterprises, and setting government policies for these matters.

The One Health Center (OHC) is a center of expertise within the University of California Global Health Institute, jointly housed at UC Riverside and UC Davis. The objective of the center is to assess and respond to global health problems arising from the human-water-animal-food interface and to design, implement, and evaluate practical, cost-effective, and sustainable solutions that focus on the foundations of health in collaboration with partners around the world.

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