Public Release: 

Latest findings on PCBs to be subject of June workshop at Illinois

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Some 200 scientists from around the world will gather June 13-15 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to discuss their latest findings on the health effects of exposure to PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) -- long-lasting chemicals manufactured and widely used before being banned or restricted since the late 1970s.

The talks at the International PCB Workshop will be reviews that highlight new findings and suggest new ways to look at existing information, said co-organizer Larry G. Hansen, a professor of veterinary biosciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are sponsoring the event as part of their Superfund Basic Research Program.

The afternoon session June 13 will feature nine talks focusing on the human health consequences of similar environmental exposures to PCB-contaminated soils near former production plants in Anniston, Ala., and in eastern Slovakia.

PCBs were used extensively, beginning in the 1930s, in many industrial compounds that found their way into caulking materials, inks, paints, coolants, electrical transformers and capacitors. PCBs today are found in soils near former production plants, in the food chain and in discarded electrical equipment at disposal sites.

The PCB Workshop will be held at the Hawthorn Suites Conference Center, 101 Trade Centre Drive, Champaign.

The workshop is designed to allow researchers from various scientific fields to integrate their knowledge and experience. The co-organizers are Hansen, Larry W. Robertson of the University of Iowa and Bernhard Hennig of the University of Kentucky.

Champaign PCB Workshop Schedule (Oral Presentations):

• Sunday, June 13:

8:30 a.m. to noon, session one: Origin of PCBs and Characterization of Exposures:

1. Environmental chemistry of chiral PCBs, Charles Wong, University of Alberta; 2. Trends in PCBs & PBDEs in air over the last decade, Ron Hites, Indiana University; 3. Use of PCB congener profiles to identify sources of PCBs. Keri Hornbuckle, University of Iowa;


4. PCBs in tree bark in Anniston, Ala. Mark Hermanson, University of Pennsylvania; 5. Importance of atmospheric interactions to PCB cycling in the Hudson and Delaware River Estuaries, Lisa Totten, Rutgers University.

Noon -- Lunch

1 p.m. to 4:45 p.m., session two: Human Exposures -- Health Effects and Characteristic Congener Profiles (Focus on Anniston, Ala., and Slovakian former production facilities):

1. Bridging the gap between science and the community, Charles Sherrer, Nova Southeastern University, Florida;

2. Human and environmental contamination with PCBs in Anniston, Kenneth G. Orloff, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Atlanta;

3. Toxicokinetic extrapolation to former residues in residents of Anniston, Tomas Martin-Jimenez and Larry G. Hansen, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign;

4. PCBs in East Slovakia and the structure and function of the PCBRISK project, Tomas Trnovec, Anton Kocan, Jan Petrik, et al., Institute of Preventive and Clinical Medicine, Bratislava, Slovak Republic;

5. PCB metabolites in the Michalovce cohort, Ake Bergman, Stockholm University;


6. A birth cohort in Eastern Slovakia and exposure to PCBs, Irva Hertz-Picciotto,

Z. Yu, University of California-Davis, and A. Kocan, J. Petrik, T. Trnovec, Institute of Preventive and Clinical Medicine, Bratislava;

7. Neurobehavioral output of 8- to 9-year-old children from the Michalovce region, Eva Sovcikova, Institute of Preventive and Clinical Medicine, Bratislava, and Gerhard Winneke, Medical Institute of Environmental Hygiene at Heinrich-Heine-University, Duesseldorf, Germany;

8. PCB exposure and diabetes incidence and glycemia, Iwar Klimes and Elena Sebokova, Slovak Academy of Sciences;

9. PCB exposure and thyroid dysfunction, Pavel Langer and Maria Tajtakova, Slovak Academy of Sciences.

4:45 p.m. -- Dinner

• Monday, June 14th

8:30 a.m. -- Session Three: Actions of PCBs; emphasis on endocrine effects:

1. Cross-talk between the Aryl hydrocarbon receptor and estrogen receptors, Paul Cooke, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign;

2. Promiscuity of the estrogen receptors, John Katzenellenbogen, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign;

3. Promiscuity of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor, Chris Bradfield, University of Wisconsin;

4. Detection of dioxin-like, estrogenic and antiestrogenic activities in human serum samples from Michalovce, Eastern Slovakia, Miroslav Machala, et al, Veterinary Research Institute, Brno, Czech Republic;


5. Interaction of the pregnane x receptor with environmental chemicals, David Waxman, Boston University;

6. Interaction of thyroid hormone receptors with PCBs, Kelly Gauger and Tom Zoeller, University of Massachusetts;

7. Tumor promotion by PCBs-modulation of apoptosis, Dieter Schrenk, University of Kaiserslautern.

12:30 p.m. -- Lunch

1:30 p.m. -- Session Four: Cardiovascular Targets of PCBs:

1. AhR Agonist-Induced Cardiovascular Toxicity in Developing Zebrafish, Warren Heideman, University of Wisconsin;

2. Nutrition Modulates PCB Toxicity: Implications in Atherosclerosis, Bernhard Hennig, University of Kentucky;

3. Inhibition of Coronary Vasculogenesis by AhR Agonists, Mary Walker, University of New Mexico;

4. Cardiotoxicity in Rats Following Chronic Exposure to Dioxins and PCBs, Nigel Walker, NIEHS

5:30 p.m. -- Midwest Barbecue Dinner

• Tuesday, June 15th

8:30 a.m. -- Session Five: Combined Exposure to PCBs and Other Contaminants:

1. Neurodevelopmental effects of PCBs, MeHg and other contaminants: Questions and Controversies, Susan Schantz, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign;

2. Auditory and motor impairments in rats exposed to PCBs and MeHg during early development, John Widholm, University of Charleston;

3. GABA disorder, PCBs, ethyl mercury and autism: Possible interplay of genes and environment, Isaac Pessah, University of California-Davis;


4. Are fish really brain food? The neurochemical effects of fish-borne contaminants, Rich Seegal, New York State Department of Health;

5. Neurotoxicity of developmental exposure to PCBs and PBDEs: Evidence for interaction, Per Eriksson, Uppsala University;

6. Round table discussion by presenting authors.

Noon -- Lunch

1 p.m. -- Session Six: Risk Issues:

1. Relative potencies of PCB congeners in animals, Deborah Rice, Department of Environmental Protection, Augusta, Maine;

2. Critical analysis of the Dutch and German cohort studies, Jens Walkoviak, Division of Analytical Chemistry, Medical Institute of Environmental Hygiene, Heinrich-Heine University Duesseldorf, Germany;

3. Trends of PCB isomeric patterns in Japanese environmental media, food, breast milk and blood in view of risk assessment, Takeshi Nakano, Institute of Public Health and Environmental Sciences, Kobe, Japan;

4. Tentative: PCB metabolites as a consideration in risk assessment, Ake Bergman, Stockholm University, and Larry Robertson, University of Iowa, et al.


3:05 p.m. -- Workshop Summation, Linda Birnbaum, USEPA, Research Triangle Park, N.C.

3:35 p.m. -- Conference Concludes


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