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         4 April 2002

On 15-16 April 2002, the United Nations University (UNU) will hold an international symposium in Hanoi on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs). This symposium, "Tracing Pollutants From Agrochemical Use: Focus on EDC Pollution," is jointly organized by the UNU and the Center for Environmental Chemistry, Hanoi. It is the fourth 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 contained in them. Speakers from the region and invited experts from around the world will discuss the role of various land-based emission sources in EDC pollution in the coastal areas, particularly highlighting agrochemical usage and its effects.

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 at increasing levels through the food chain. East Asian coastal ecosystems are at risk due to EDC pollution from a wide variety of land-based sources, including domestic and industrial wastes and pesticides in agricultural runoff. In its 2001 symposium, held in Seoul, the UNU addressed the issue of industrially generated EDC pollution, but agrochemical sources of EDC pollution remain comparatively underestimated. Increased agricultural reliance on chemicals is introducing serious levels of EDCs to coastal and freshwater systems in the region, and the populations that depend on them.

In addition to Vietnamese leaders in EDC research, experts from Europe, Canada and the United States will present their most recent research on the subject. Researchers from China, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand will 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 Shimadzu Corporation of Kyoto, Japan. The symposium, which will be conducted in English, is open to the public; admission is free, although advance registration is required (please contact the address below). Media representatives are cordially invited to attend.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Pham Hung Viet
Research Center for Environmental Technology and Sustainable Development
Hanoi University of Science, VNU Hanoi
T3 Building, 334 Nguyen Trai Road, Thanh Xuan Dist., Hanoi, Viet Nam
Tel.: + 84 4 858 79 64 Fax: + 84 4 858 81 52 E-mail:

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




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