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         6 April 2001

On 16-17 April 2001, the United Nations University (UNU) will hold an international symposium on coastal pollution by Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs). This symposium, entitled Industries and EDC Pollution, is being jointly organized by the UNU, Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute (KORDI) and Kwangju Institute of Science and Technology (K-JIST). It is the third in a series of symposiums under a UNU programme focusing on Environmental Pollution and Governance in the East Asian "Coastal Hydrosphere"- the region's freshwater and seawater coastal environments and the natural living resources present in them.

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 typically resistant to natural degradation processes, they persist and accumulate in the environment in increasing levels through the food chain. Rapid industrial development and increased reliance of agriculture on chemicals have created a high level of risk to East Asia's coastal hydrosphere, and several animal species, particularly marine mammals at the top of the food chain, are suffering adverse health effects from exposure to EDCs.

The two-day symposium will be held at the Hoam Conference Hall on the campus of Seoul National University. Korean leaders in EDC research and leading experts from overseas - including researchers from Japan's National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), Environment Canada, the European Commission (EC), University of California, and Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology - will present the most recent research on the subject of EDC pollution and discuss the role of industrial and other land-based emission sources in the EDC pollution of East Asian coastal areas.

Researchers from China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam will also present the status of coastal pollution in their respective countries - a monitoring effort that is part of the UNU Coastal Hydrosphere project. This monitoring project has been undertaken with support from the Shimadzu Corporation of Japan, and following the symposium selected representatives will attend a three-day training workshop (19-21 April) at the Shimadzu facilities in Hadano, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.

A copy of the programme is attached. The symposium will be conducted in English; it is open to the public, although advance registration is required. Media representatives are cordially invited to attend.

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For further information please contact:
The UNU Public Affairs Section: Tel. (03) 5467-1243, -1246; Fax (03) 3406-7346




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