This is the old United Nations University website. Visit the new site at

             11 April 2000


On 17-18 April 2000, the United Nations University (UNU) will hold an international symposium on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This symposium, jointly organized by the UNU and University of Malaya in cooperation with the Shimadzu Corporation of Japan, is the second of a series under a UNU programme focusing on EDCs in the East Asian "Coastal Hydrosphere" - the region's freshwater and seawater coastal environments and the natural living resources contained in them. Participants will discuss EDC pollution in the coastal areas of the East Asian region and its impacts on the ecosystems.

EDCs encompass a broad range of chemicals that can interfere with the normal functioning of metabolic, growth and reproductive hormones in humans and animals. Because EDC pollutants are resistant to natural degradation processes, they persist and accumulate in the environment in increasing levels through the food chain. Ongoing research has revealed that several animal species in the East Asian coastal hydrosphere, and particularly marine mammals at the top of the food chain, are suffering adverse health effects from exposure to EDCs.

East Asian coastal ecosystems are at risk of EDC pollution from a wide variety of land-based sources, including domestic and industrial wastes and pesticides in agricultural runoff. Rapid industrial development and increased reliance of agriculture on chemicals in the region have created a greater level of risk to the coastal ecosystems.

Leading experts on EDC pollution will present the most recent research on the subject. Seminar speakers will include representatives and researchers from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); University of California, Berkeley (USA); National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES, Japan); University of Messina (Italy); and Ocean Research Institute (ORI) of the University of Tokyo (Japan).

Representatives from China, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam will present the status of coastal pollution in their countries - a monitoring effort that is part of the UNU Coastal Hydrosphere project. Following the symposium, these representatives will attend a three-day training workshop.

The symposium, which will be conducted in English, is open to the public; admission is free, although advance registration is required. Media representatives are cordially invited to attend. A copy of the programme is attached [Word document].

*     *     *    

For further information please contact:

UNU Public Affairs Section
Tel. (03) 5467-1243, -1246
Fax (03) 3406-7346




back | UNU home