International symposium on Persistent Organic Pollutants to take place in Brussels

The 31st international symposium on Persistent Organic Pollutants (Dioxin 2011) will take place in Brussels from August 22 to 25, 2011, bringing together close to 1000 specialists from the world over. It is the first time that this scientific meeting, the most important of its kind in this research area, and which was born in the wake of the Seveso disaster (1976), is taking place in Belgium.

This 31st edition has been organised on the initiative of Professor Jean-François Focant (University of Liège), President of the Dioxin 2011 symposium, and Adrian Covaci (University of Antwerp), the co-President.

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) represent several dozens of families of molecules, of which the best known (unfortunately) are dioxins, furans and more generally PCBs.

Through 800 abstracts presented in five parallel sessions and plenary sessions, Dioxin 2011 will take stock of the most recent scientific developments concerning POPs.

Complex molecules, POPs are characterised by their toxicity to human health and the environment, their persistency in the environment (the most common half-life spans are longer than ten years) and their bioaccumulation in living organisms.

Several international treaties have classified and fixed the emission thresholds for certain categories of POP. If the production of substances such as PCBs is today banned and if industrial emissions are generally monitored, scientists and the public authorities are continuing to attentively survey these pollutants because of the potential long term impact on health and the environment linked to their persistency and bioaccumulation.

Dioxin 2011 will also place an emphasis on emerging organic compounds, more and more used in multiple applications but whose effects are still very poorly understood, such as bromine molecules (used for example as flame retardants), fluorine molecules (Teflon, chemistry, medical chemistry, etc.) and organochlorine pesticides, etc.

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