Accepted Symposia

Along the pre-conference period, symposium proposals had been submitted. The ones who have been accepted are included in the program as “Symposium” sessions.

In total there are 28 accepted symposia.

A list of accepted symposia 

 

Symposium Chairs:

Tarik Benmarhnia, United States

Symposium Presenters:


Tarik Benmarhnia, United States
Sindana Ilango, United States
Chen Chen, United States
Francesca Dominici, United States

Symposium Description:

The epidemiological evidence linking ambient air pollution to various health outcomes has drastically increased in the past two decades and guided the development of air pollution policies and regulations. Yet, various inferential questions that may help refine policies remain incompletely answered, for example those concerning mechanisms linking air pollution and chronic diseases or the identification of vulnerable groups. In this context, applying modern causal inference methods and triangulating such epidemiological evidence becomes an important task for the next few years. Finally, evidence regarding real-world interventions on reducing exposure to air pollution and environmental justice implications is still incomplete.

In this symposium, we will use various case studies in the context of cohort studies in Canada and in the US to introduce modern challenges and promote discussions about possible solutions regarding air pollution epidemiology studies. We will first discuss the use of mediation analysis in the context of complex longitudinal studies to better understand how air pollution influences the transition from clinical manifestation of disease states, to their complication including premature death. We will then discuss the importance of competing risks when studying the effect of air pollution on various chronic diseases and present methodological solutions. We will also introduce data-driven approaches to identify susceptible population subgroups. We will then describe how g-computation can be used to deal with various issues that are particularly relevant in this area including the consideration of time-varying confounding and the simulation of realistic scenarios to inform policies. We will also illustrate how it is possible to emulate randomization through natural experiments to evaluate the effectiveness of changes in air pollution exposure on various health outcomes. Finally, we will present different methods to quantify inequalities air pollution exposure and the environmental justice implications.

Symposium Chairs:

Wael Al-delaimy, United States
Narges Khanjani, Iran

Symposium Presenters:

Kenza Khomsi, Morocco
Oumaima Bouakline, Morocco
Narges Khanjani, Iran
Imane Sekmoudi, Morocco
Myriam Mrad, Lebanon
Amal Saad-Hussein, Egypt
Zahra Khorrami, Iran

Symposium Description:

This symposium will bring together the state of environmental health research in Eastern Mediterranean (EM) region into focus in relation to air pollution and climate change relevant studies. The EM ISEE chapter is the newest ISEE chapter and, with the exception of one presenter, all these presentations are from first time or second time ISEE presenters from the region. The topic of climate change is relatively new in research in the EM and there is a growing need to address climate change impact in this region that will be one of the first to suffer major health consequences of health waves, air pollution, water shortage and other consequences of climate change. Air pollution research is also scattered without innovative approaches from the EM member countries. This symposium will focus on these two topics from 4 countries of the region. The modeling of climate related pollutants are presented from Morocco. Air pollution impacts on lunch cancer and child respiratory illnesses are presented from Iran and Lebanon, respectively. From Morocco, the health impact of COVID-19 lockdown is demonstrated through modeling scenarios. Finally, health impacts of airborne biological pollutants in a group of workers in water treatment facilities in Egypt is presented.

 

Symposium Chairs:

Michelle Turner, Spain
Ingrid Sivesind Mehlum, Norway

Symposium Presenters:

Ingrid Sivesind Mehlum, Norway
Manolis Kogevinas, Spain
Theo Bodin, Sweden
Lode Godderis, Belgium
Roel Vermeulen, The Netherlands
Kaitlin Kelly Reif, United States

Symposium Description:


Paid employment is an essential component of adult life and a major determinant of health and healthy ageing. However, in recent years there has been limited coordination and promotion of European health research on occupation and employment. Europe currently has some of the most valuable occupational, industrial, and population cohorts worldwide. The lack of integration of these cohorts hampers the exploitation of these resources, essential to underpin evidence-based interventions and policy. OMEGA-NET is a 4-year COST Action, starting in October 2017 funded by EU, and is currently comprised of over 150 occupational health researchers in 40 countries, including non-European partners and cohorts.  

The overarching goal of OMEGA-NET is to create a network to optimize the use of occupational, industrial, and population cohorts. OMEGA-NET will advance i) collaboration using existing cohorts, with extensive contemporary information on employment and occupational exposures, ii) coordination and harmonisation of occupational exposure assessment efforts, and iii) facilitation of an integrated strategy for occupational health research in Europe. We will inventory numerous cohorts with occupational information in Europe; implement an online interactive tool with detailed information on existing cohorts; facilitate work on harmonisation of occupational exposure and health outcome information and new protocols for data collection; connect scientific occupational health communities in Europe and beyond.

Collaboration through OMEGA-NET will enhance the scientific output from individual studies and facilitate pooled studies, data sharing, and transfer of tools and skills to make greater and more efficient use of existing cohorts. The work will provide a foundation for an enhanced evidence base for the identification of health risks and gains related to occupation and employment to foster preventive strategies and policies. Researchers from countries outside Europe can participate in COST Actions on the basis of ascertained mutual benefit.

The objectives of the ISEE 2021 OMEGA-NET symposium are to present and discuss ongoing work in the network involving occupational cohort studies, data pooling, and data harmonization to inform policy making.  The symposium will involve a series of short talks by OMEGA-NET researchers as well as discussion and debate surrounding these key themes. The symposium includes junior and senior researchers from 6 countries.

 

Symposium Chairs:

Ander Wilson, United States
Marianthi-Anna Kioumourtzoglou, United States

 Symposium Presenters:

Robert Wright, United States
Ander Wilson, United States
Joseph Antonelli, United States
Daniel Mork, United States
Joshua Warren, United States
Chris Gennings, United States

 Symposium Description:

Fetal development is an important time period when disturbances to the developmental process can have life-long consequences. Understanding the effects of perinatal environmental exposures on birth and child health outcomes is of critical importance and a focus of a large body of environmental epidemiology research. Recently, research has generally focused on either estimating the effect of exposure to a mixture observed at a single time point or on identifying critical windows to a single exposure measured repeatedly throughout pregnancy. Yet, little research has focused on identifying critical windows to mixtures, due to the lack of appropriate methods. In this symposium, we discuss the theoretical basis for the existence of critical windows to mixtures and present an array of newly developed methods that can identify critical windows using repeated measurements of exposure to a mixture. First, we discuss the biological basis for the existence of critical windows and motivation for identifying critical windows to mixture exposures. We then present new methods to identify critical windows with mixtures and epidemiological evidence of such windows obtained using these methods. All of the methods are in part based on the distributed lag model framework that has long been used in environmental epidemiology. Each approach extends this framework to mixtures in different and innovated ways to answer unique research questions. The objectives of these methods vary and include: 1) exposure-time-response surface estimation; 2) critical window selection; 3) selection of mixture component and interactions; and 4) estimation of the overall mixture effect. We illustrate the approaches on a variety of exposures and outcomes, including metals and air pollutant mixtures and outcomes including birth weight, stillbirth, and neurodevelopmental endpoints.

Symposium Chairs:

Jose Ricardo Suarez, United States
Paul Mills, United States

 Symposium Presenters:

Daniele Mandrioli, Italy
Briana Chronister, United States
Paul Mills, United States
Robert Gunier, United States
Carly Hyland, United States
Jose R Suarez, United States

 Symposium Description:

Glyphosate-based herbicides are the most widely used pesticides worldwide and their use has risen by 15-fold since the introduction of genetically engineered glyphosate-tolerant crops in 1996. There is indication that human dietary, occupational, and environmental exposures have also increased over 10-fold. Glyphosate has been associated with liver disease, endocrine disruption, and neurobehavioral alterations in human and/or animal studies; however, epidemiologic data are limited. CONTENT:

This symposium of international research includes six presentations of comprehensive and novel animal experiments and epidemiologic studies across the lifespan (in-utero to adulthood) characterizing health effects of glyphosate exposure:

(1) Experimental study on glyphosate and its formulations in Italy. We describe genotoxicity, carcinogenicity, prenatal-development, neurotoxicity, multi-generational effects, and endocrine, and microbiome disruption in rats exposed to glyphosate at levels considered safe and legally acceptable.

(2) Associations between urinary glyphosate concentrations with adrenal and gonadal hormones. We present findings among 523 male and female adolescents living in agricultural settings in Ecuador: The ESPINA study.

(3) We present findings of two adult studies that characterize: A) the change in concentrations of urinary glyphosate measured over 25 years (Rancho Bernardo Study, USA), and B) the associations of glyphosate exposures with fatty liver disease.

(4) Residential proximity to agricultural glyphosate use during the prenatal period and from 0-5 years of age in relation to cognition at 7 and 10 years and behavior at 16 and 18 years in the CHAMACOS birth cohort, USA.

(5) Associations of urinary concentrations of glyphosate and its metabolite aminomethylphosphonic acid with neurobehavioral outcomes. We present exposure associations with measures of working memory, attention, executive function, and motor function, among 300 farmworkers in Costa Rica.

(6) Associations of urinary herbicide (glyphosate, 2,4-D) and DEET metabolite concentrations with neurobehavioral performance. We describe exposure associations with attention/inhibition, memory, visuospatial processing, and social perception among 530 Ecuadorian adolescents.

 

 

 

Symposium Chairs:

Nasser Laouali, United States
Youssef Oulhote, United States

Symposium Presenters:

Kristen Lyall, United States
Nasser Laouali, France
Jeanette A Stingone, United States
Sylvia Akpene Takyi, Ghana
Rosalind J. Wright, United States
Tarik Benmarhnia, United States 

Symposium Description:

Many countries worldwide face a worrying increase of non-communicable diseases in children and adults. Reasons of such increases reflect both growth of the population and aging, as well as changes in the distribution of the main risk factors, including environmental exposures and dietary factors.

While the regulation of several pollutants is a lengthy process, there is a strong interest in assessment of modifiable factors that may allow intervention and/or prevention of chronic diseases and mortality. Recent findings suggest that several lifestyle factors attenuate or enhance the detrimental effects of environmental pollutants on diseases and mortality. Diet is one of the main lifestyle-related factors which can modulate the inflammatory and oxidative stress processes involved in the pollutant induced toxicity. However, there is little evidence of the role of diet in mitigating adverse health effects of pollutants exposures and further research is needed especially in susceptible groups such as children, asthmatics, and occupational workers to better understand the underlying mechanisms and propose alternative intervention strategies both at the individual and populational levels.

The goal of this symposium is to highlight recent advances in the knowledge of the potential modification effect of dietary intakes and supplements in the associations between environmental exposures and various health outcomes.

Symposium Chairs:

Eric Coker, United States
Adetoun Mustapha, Nigeria 

Symposium Presenters:

Kofi Amegah, Ghana
Bujin Bekbulat, United States
Oyewale Morakinyo, Nigeria
Adetoun Mustapha, Nigeria
Engineer Bainomugisha, Uganda
Karin Tuxen-Bettman, United States 

Symposium Description:

Exposure to air pollution in the ambient and household indoor environments are major determinants of health in lower- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Yet there is insufficient urban ambient air quality monitoring or characterization of air pollution exposure in these regions. Such data gaps limit the research community’s ability to estimate the health impacts of air pollution in LMICs. The major contextual barriers to improving air monitoring and exposure assessment capacity in these regions include: (a) limited awareness of public health implications among the policy makers and citizens, (b) limited financial resources, (c) infrastructural deficit and (d) an overall poor understanding of effective and tailored approaches to implement air quality monitoring and exposure assessment within these resource constrained countries. There are, however, research groups who are attempting to fill these gaps. The proposed symposium will highlight and discuss several of these emergent approaches and technologies currently being implemented in LMICs of Africa and Asia. Presenters will discuss low-cost sensor networks and samplers being applied or developed in Ghana, Uganda and Mongolia, which are designed to address the local environmental and resource contexts in these countries. Presenters will also demonstrate novel air pollution exposure assessment approaches and questions that have been tailored to the low-income country context in Africa. In addition, speakers will discuss the integration of data science and big-data approaches, and how they can improve our understanding of air pollution health effects in the LMIC context. The combination of speakers, in terms of multiple disciplines and approaches, will contribute to important discussions around emerging and creative ways to fill these data gaps and help create momentum towards a unified understanding of the unique challenges and potential solutions. This symposium is organized by members of the ISEE Africa chapter.

Symposium Chairs:

Manolis Kogevinas, Spain
David Savitz, United States

Symposium Presenters:

David Savitz, United States
Cathryn Tonne, Spain
Manolis Kogevinas, Spain

Symposium Description:

The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging the world’s economic and health systems and exemplifies the degree of global interdependencies and need of preparedness for global health threats. The pandemic has profoundly affected global society in multiple ways, both introducing completely new challenges and accelerating ongoing trends. The shift to the digital world, already in play over the past decade, has become ubiquitous and is rapidly affecting research. The pandemic has highlighted the deep interconnections between problems that are typically studied in isolation or that previously were situated at the periphery of environmental epidemiology. In this symposium, we scan the horizon to predict how the dramatic changes occurring in a short time will affect environmental epidemiology research in the long term. We will focus on expected changes in environmental epidemiology research including the scope of the field, methods, data sources, and implementation of research, as well as the role of environmental epidemiology at a global scale. Presentations will cover: infections and the environment, urban health, changes in biomarker based research including the need for development of methods for small volume sample collection and analysis, spatial methods and web based research, social inequities and global collaboration.

 

 

Symposium Chairs:

Barbara Hoffmann, Germany
Fred Lurmann, United States 

Symposium Presenters:

Jeffrey Brook, Canada
Allison Patton, United States
Hanna Boogaard, United States
Francesco Forastiere, United Kingdom
Chad Bailey, United States 

Symposium Discussants:

Haneen Khreis, United States
Annette Peters, Germany
Daniel Greenbaum, United States

Symposium Description:

The health effects of traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) continue to be of public health interest across the globe, with highest exposures in urban settings and residences in proximity to busy roadways, often those of lower socioeconomic status. Such communities may also be more susceptible to TRAP owing to other underlying disparities.

Since the review of the Health Effects Institute (HEI) in 2010, many additional studies investigating the health effects of exposure to TRAP have been published. Furthermore, air quality regulations have been tightened and vehicle technology have advanced. TRAP is a complex mixture, characterized by high spatial and temporal variability, and changes have occurred over time and by country. Interest in the contribution of non–tailpipe emissions is increasing as vehicle miles traveled increase and regulations continue to be targeted almost exclusively to tailpipe emissions. In addition, there is a better appreciation of the complex interactions between socioeconomic status, equity, and traffic noise in health studies of traffic-related air pollution.

HEI has conducted a new systematic review of the epidemiological literature on the health effects of long-term exposure to TRAP, the largest systematic effort to date. Results were combined quantitatively and may be useful for future risk and health impact assessments.

After a broad search, the Panel identified 1100 studies for further screening; 353 of which met the inclusion criteria and are considered. Most studies investigated respiratory effects in children (N=117) and birth outcomes (N=86). Slightly fewer studies investigated cardiometabolic effects (N=58), respiratory effects in adults (N=50), and mortality (N=49).

The symposium will present the main findings of the systematic review, and discuss the evidence base of TRAP and selected health outcomes. Strengths and limitations of the existing studies will be considered, results will be put into a broader context, and recommendations for future policy-relevant science will be made.

Symposium Chairs:

Kris Ebi, United States 

Symposium Presenters:

Matthew Chersich, South Africa
Cherie Part, United Kingdom
Massimo Stafoggia, Sweden
Ana Bonell, Gambia
Qiong Wang, China 

Symposium Description:

As the climate changes, there are growing concerns that exposure to high ambient temperatures during pregnancy adversely affects maternal and neonatal health (MNH). Pregnant women are less able to thermoregulate, and there is accumulating evidence for physiological effects of heat stress.  Further, many health facilities experience high indoor temperatures during heatwave events and health systems are poorly adapted to climate change. There is emerging evidence for an effect of high temperatures on pre-term birth, much remains unknown about the climate conditions and critical windows of exposure that may increase risk of adverse MNH outcomes, as well as the potential role of deprivation, nutrition, and other factors that may heighten heat-risk in vulnerable groups. 

There are currently few studies from low-income countries despite adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes in these settings being relatively frequent. The Belmont Forum funded the CHAMNHA (Climate, Heat And Maternal and Neonatal Health in Africa) study which is a major new research project led by an inter-disciplinary and inter-sectoral team across three continents representing expertise in epidemiology, biostatistics, climatology, and social sciences. The consortium addresses key knowledge gaps in low-income settings to improve adaptation to high temperatures and increase resilience in healthcare systems. The study includes epidemiologic assessments of MNH outcomes using birth records, clinical trials and survey datasets in multiple settings with varying climatic and socio-economic profiles.

This symposium will present initial results from the CHAMNHA and other international collaborations to highlight important differences in risk profiles within and between countries. The studies presented will include physiological evidence and utilise novel study designs such as sibling-matched studies. The evidence generated will increase focus on MNH and climate change in the policy environment and will support arguments for better integration of heat interventions in existing health services.

Symposium Chairs:

Firdu Zawide, United States
Adetoun Mustapha, Nigeria

Symposium Presenters:

Firdu Zawide, United States
Wondwessen Birke, Ethiopia
Temitope Lanyian, Nigeria
Andrew Reigns, Ethiopia
Adetoun Mustapha, Nigeria 

Symposium Description:

Water and sanitation has been part of the global development agenda  since the declaration of the International Drinking Water and Sanitation Decade ( 1981-1990 ) by the United Nations .   Although the provision of WASH has increased in Africa in the past decades due to the efforts made by governments, international organizations and external support agencies, there is a great inequality between rural poor and the urban rich. Today in Africa there are over 300 million people lacking safe water supply and 70%  are living without adequate sanitation. Nearly 61% of the rural African villages lack safe drinking water and as the COVID -19 pandemic spreads  more than half of the schools and health centres are deprived of safe water , clean toilets and soap. As a result about 1 in. 7 African children die from preventable waterborne diseases . A number of factors contribute to the low WASH coverage in Africa  which are  climate change that has reduced the rainfall by nearly 10%,  water scarcity and water stress,  rapid population growth  expected to double by 2050, increasing water pollution , industrialization and  increase in urban slums inhabitants  that demand  more  water, sanitatand poverty with more people living in less than $2.00 a day. The symposium  addresses  the progress made to  eliminate  the inequalities and the constraints in Africa looking at it from experiences  of four regions  highlighting the role of national governments, and their international partners , the implementation of projects and programmes and opportunities for future improvement in the context of  the Sustainable Development Goal (2015-2030).  Ethics by a member of ISEE Ethics and Philosophy  committee will be included in the symposium. This symposium is organized by by members of the ISEE Africa Chapter.

Symposium Chairs:

Annette Peters, Germany
Andrea Baccarelli, United States 

Symposium Presenters:

Annette Peters, Germany
Andrea Baccarelli, United States
Tim Nawrot, Belgium
Jordi Sunyer, Spain
Phillipe Grandjean, United States

Symposium Description:

Environmental insults continue to impair human health around the world. Contaminated air, water, soil and food, occupational and household settings expose humans of all ages to a plethora of chemicals and environmental stressors.

We discuss in this symposium eight hallmarks of environmental insults which jointly underpin the damaging impact of environmental exposures during the life-span. Specifically, they include (i) oxidative stress and inflammation, (ii) mitochondrial dysfunction, (iii) genomic alterations and mutations, (iv) epigenetic alterations, (v) endocrine disruption, (vi), altered intercellular communication, (vii) altered microbiome communities, and (viii) impaired nervous system function. Taken together, these impairments represent hallmarks leading from health to disease. They provide a framework to understand why complex mixtures of environmental exposures are capable of inducing severe health effects even at relatively modest concentrations.

We will discuss this framework using examples air pollution which indeed has been linked to all eight hallmarks or climate change. The hallmarks were developed with the hallmarks of aging in mind (Lopez-Otin et al Cell 2013). However, they also provide important insights into in utero and early childhood impacts of environmental insults. Furthermore, they are considered to provide important insights into environmental impacts on specific organs such as for example the brain.

There is an enormous potential to leverage the contribution of environmental insults on human health and disease to advance individualized prevention and therapy as well as to develop sound policies that protect current and future generations from global threats such as air pollution and climate change.

Lopez-Otin, C., Blasco, M.A., Partridge, L., Serrano, M., and Kroemer, G. (2013). The hallmarks of aging. Cell 153, 1194-1217.

Symposium Chairs:

Amir Sapkota, United States
Lewis Ziska, United States 

Symposium Presenters:

Lewis Ziska, United States
Yuyu Zhou, United States
Amir Sapkota, United States
Fiona Lo, United States

Symposium Description:

Pollen is an important risk factor for allergic diseases including asthma that affects over 339 million people worldwide [1]. Previous studies have shown that ongoing climate variability and change is impacting pollen exposure dynamics among sensitive populations [2-4]. In the Northern Hemisphere, the pattern of pollen exposure varies across seasons, with tree pollen dominating springtime exposure, grass pollen during summer and weed pollen during the fall season [5-7], with considerable heterogeneity in the prevalence of sensitized individuals across geographic areas as well as specific species. The observed heterogeneity in sensitization across geographic areas and the associated health risk highlight the need for a national and global network of pollen monitoring stations that can provide timely information to both clinicians and patients for symptom management. To date, such network remains woefully inadequate. In the United States, pollen monitoring is often undertaken by a network of private physicians. As of 2012, this network had approximately 82 pollen monitors operating across the country, which roughly translated into one pollen monitor for every 3.4 million Americans [8]. In the absence of reliable and high spatial resolution pollen monitoring data, there is a growing interest in leveraging satellite data to infer key pollen events, such as season onset, peak pollen concentration, and pollen season length for tree pollen during spring, grass pollen during summer and weed pollen during fall.

Presentations in this symposium will start with empirical evidence linking pollen dynamics with ongoing climate change and provide in depth perspectives on recent developments in remote sensing and machine learning that allow researchers to fill this important data gap. Symposium will end with how such data products can be used in epidemiological studies linking climate change, pollen dynamics, and springtime asthma hospitalizations in the Northeast United States.  

 

 

 

Symposium Chairs:

Patrick Kinney, United States
Matt Raifman, United States

Symposium Presenters:

Natalie Mueller, Spain
Matt Raifman, United States
Alistair Woodward, New Zealand
Alexandra Macmillan, New Zealand 

Symposium Description:

This symposium will provide examples from around the world of the potential for active mobility policy to simultaneously improve the dual challenges of mitigating climate change and improving public health. Where possible, presenters will also emphasize the equity of who benefits from discussed interventions.

Previous research has shown that increased active mobility, defined here as forms of transportation that require an elevated level of physical exertion, can improve numerous health outcomes, including but not limited to: reducing risk of all-cause mortality, lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, and improved mental health. In addition, active mobility modes (e.g. walking and cycling) have little or no fossil fuel footprint and tend to use infrastructure that has much higher throughput than alternative modes of transportation, making active mobility a potent strategy for reducing fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions as well as improving urban form. 

While active mobility currently accounts for a much smaller transport mode share compared to automobiles in most countries, there is reason to believe that active mobility will gain mode share in the decades ahead. Active mobility ranks high in the list of potential strategies to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. Increasingly, cities in particular are either restricting or tolling vehicle access to urban centers (e.g. London, Florence, and New York City) or redesigning the urban streetscape (e.g. Barcelona) to incent mode shift to alternative forms of transport. More immediately, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, cities across the world implemented new walkways and cycletracks that may be sustained in a post-pandemic world, offering longer-term impacts. Quantifying the health and climate benefits of active mobility policies requires an interdisciplinary understanding of the health, transport, environmental, and urban planning fields, and can play a key role in helping policymakers understand the potential dual bottom line benefits of active mobility.

Symposium Chairs:

Marc Weisskopf, United States
Tom Webster, United States 

Symposium Presenters:

Tom Webster, United States
Marc Weisskopf, United States
Alexander Keil, United States
Jessie Buckley, United States 

Symposium Description:

Environmental epidemiologists have traditionally focused on understanding the health effects of single exposures and most methodology focuses on that context. But interest has been growing in the epidemiology of exposure to mixtures. By “mixture” we typically mean at least two (and often many more, indeed the concept of the exposome encompasses this) exposures of interest. But this shorthand shouldn’t obscure the fact that there are many questions enmeshed in the concept of “mixtures” epidemiology. And while there has been mounting interest in developing statistical approaches to analyzing the effects of simultaneous exposure to multiple factors—often highly correlated—attention must be paid to what questions these methods address.

Questions of interest to mixtures epidemiology include (but are not limited to) identification of components of the mixture of variables that contribute to the outcome, interactions between them, effects of the mixture as a whole and construction of exposure summary measures if possible. Often embedded in these questions, although not always stated explicitly, is the idea of causality. While seemingly obvious, this has so far received relatively little attention in mixtures epidemiology, and is an important distinction from predictive models.

This symposium seeks to explore the question of how a causal inference lens might affect how we go about analyzing mixtures. Does this affect how we set up our study? Does this affect the statistical approaches we take or how we interpret their results?

Symposium Chairs:

Jamaji Nwanaji-enwerem, United States
Kristen Malecki, United States

Symposium Presenters:

Jamaji Nwanaji-Enwerem, United States
Kaitlyn Lawrence, United States
Cavin Ward-Caviness, United States
Andres Cardenas, United States
Alexandra White, United States
Kristen Malecki, United States

Symposium Description:

Rapid use of -omic technology in environmental health research has led to identification of several gaps in our current identification, use and application of biomarkers and their ability to support and advance racial health equity.  It is well documented that social class and systemic racism have increased vulnerability in communities of color across the United States. However, the multi-level intersectionality of factors are not often considered in environmental health research and therefore biomarkers are developed that may or may not be reflecting true biological mechanisms underlying susceptibility and response to environmental exposures. Further, the COVID-19 pandemic and national attention on racism prominently surfaced shortcomings in the environmental research field’s conceptualization and methodological use of race. Thus, there is an urgent need to re-envision research to better document how environmental factors intersect with social determinants of health and contribute to health disparities. This symposium springboards off work from a group of investigators participating in the National Academies of Science Environment and Aging working group who found biomarkers to support racial health equity were lacking. Many aging indicators were developed in relatively homogeneous study populations and research to date lacks relative information regarding the social stressors and resilience factors that shape relationships between the environment and aging. Participants concluded that without intentional and explicit considerations of racial health equity, those in most need of the benefits afforded by a better understanding of the relationships between environmental exposures and aging will be the least likely to receive them because biomarkers may not encompass impacts from their unique, cumulative environments. Through their work on epigenetic aging, our panel speakers illustrate how more comprehensive exposure frameworks can help foster a more racially equitable understanding of environmental health relationships across the lifecourse.

Symposium Chairs:

Telma de Cassia dos Santos Nery, Brazil
Rogerio Araujo Christensen, Brazil

Symposium Presenters:

Luiz do Nascimento Carvalho, Brazil
Monica Valdyrce Lopes Ferreira, Brazil
Paulo Junior Paz de Lima, Brazil
Glaucia Moraes, Brazil
Alexandre Da Silva Faustino, Australia
Sandra Cortes Aranciba, Chile

Symposium Description:

Some environmental aspects are directly related to impacts on human health.

Some factors and risks are increasing alarmingly in several regions differentially, mainly in Latin America.

Presenting and discussing equity factors involving researchers and civil society can be essential to reduce impacts and institute public health policies.

This symposium will jointly discuss the topic of pesticides, access to water and contaminated areas with researchers, governmental and non-governmental organizations, activists, and civil society.

Representatives of cities, settlements, universities, and research institutes from 4 regions of Brazil and Chile will be present.

The expectation is to present the situations and how they have been treated regionally, making it possible to broaden a debate and stimulate measures and research aimed at reducing differences and promoting equity in environmental health.

Symposium Chairs:

Matthew Chersich, South Africa
Vlatka Matkovic, Belgium 

Symposium Presenters:

Richard Tavares, Belgium
Caroline Culshaw, United Kingdom
Kristin Aunan, Norway
Adelaide M Lusambili, Kenya
Jason Glaser, United States
Francesca de'Donato, Italy

Symposium Description:

Health issues related to climate change are gaining increasing attention and include a range of challenges that will be exacerbated in the coming decades across the globe, in both high- and low-income countries. However, despite strong calls for reframing climate change as an urgent health issue necessitating joined-up action, many research communities are still operating as stand-alone entities. This impedes the planned production of knowledge and integrated, evidence-based policy on climate and health. In recent years, both the EU Commission and the Belmont Forum have funded multi-country and often even cross-continental studies on health and climate change, focusing on generating critical epidemiological data, improving intersectoral research cooperation, and supporting policy and planning.

The symposium will overview current research programs and innovative findings from research on heat-related health impacts and adaptation. Senior leaders from the European Commission DG Research and Innovation and Belmont Forum will showcase current research programs and future perspectives in the context of recent EU and global policies, and COVID-19 recovery. The EU-funded ENBEL project is developing tools to streamline climate and health research and to optimise research products for translation into relevant policy. We will present the findings of three innovative projects examining heat-related risks among key vulnerable groups. The PREP project studies heat stress on kidney disease among sugar cane workers in Latin America and evaluates the benefits of interventions introduced by development institutions. The CHAMNHA project focuses the adverse health effects of heat on maternal and neonatal health and proposes interventions. Lastly, the EXHAUSTION project will present a literature review on how to evaluate measures introduced to contrast heat-related health effects among vulnerable groups, with the aim of improving evaluation and response.

Symposium Chairs:

David Savitz, United States
Kurt Straif, Spain 

Symposium Presenters:

Kurt Straif, Spain
David Savitz, United States
Irva Hertz-Picciotto, United States
Tony Fletcher, United Kingdom 

Symposium Description:

Epidemiologists aspire to conduct studies that will have maximum impact on causal assessments and policy decisions.  The mechanism by which research impacts these ultimate applications is through various forms of evidence synthesis as conducted by IARC, US EPA, EFSA, the US National Academy of Medicine, and others.  In bringing epidemiologic evidence to bear on complex issues of causality and risk assessment, the informativeness of epidemiologic studies varies considerably based on multiple factors: The timeliness of the research topic can be critical, with some topics prioritized for new evaluations, and others identified from documented research gaps. Anticipating which topics will be examined in the future after the research is completed calls for awareness of agency and policy priorities and a careful read of the epidemiologic literature.  The study methods, including the setting and population for the research, the quality and relevance of the exposure and disease measurement, and the vulnerability to confounding result in studies ranging from little or no marginal contribution to strongly influential.  In some instances, simply initiating a new line of inquiry or addressing a previously understudied potential consequence of exposure may result in a highly impactful study, or conducting research in a markedly different setting than has occurred previously.  The approach to data analysis and presentation of results bears on the utility of the evidence for quantitative risk assessment and ultimately on regulatory decisions.  Studies that generate outcome measures most pertinent to the policy decisions are more likely to be used.  In this session, we will examine these issues from a theoretical perspective and through the lens of direct experience with service on committees charged with evaluating evidence.  We will draw particularly on experience with the IARC Monograph process of setting priorities and Consensus Committees of the US National Academy of Sciences.

Symposium Chairs:

Jaime Butler-dawson, United States
Katherine James, United States 

Symposium Presenters:

Lyndsay Krisher, United States
Roxana Chicas, United States
James Crooks, United States
Jaime Butler-Dawson, United States

Symposium Description:

Not all individuals or all communities are equally affected by climate change. Worker populations worldwide are exposed to the gamut of climate-related hazards for longer durations and at greater intensities than the general public, putting them at a higher risk of suffering negative health impacts. Workers in a wide variety of geographic regions and occupations are currently experiencing negative health impacts and losing vital productivity from climate change due to increased ambient temperature, air pollution, extreme weather, and ozone depletion, and among others. Additionally, with the emergence of new industries and work processes related to the energy transition, new hazards can be expected. Urgent, transdisciplinary action is needed to address these risks. Public health and climate professionals, working in conjunction with employers, must understand climate risks, undertake assessments, and be prepared to respond and adapt in order to reduce the vulnerability of workers and increase their resilience to the impacts of climate change.

In this session, climate-related hazards that worker populations face will be reviewed, with an emphasis on exploring interventions to 1) promote better health outcomes and 2) reduce health inequities through surveillance, research, translation, and policy. Workers in industries such as agriculture, disaster response, healthcare, and wildland firefighters, are among those workforces who will carry a disproportionate burden and will be the primary focus of this symposium. This panel discussion serves as a “call to action” to engage diverse academic participants studying the impact of climate change on health, specifically worker health, along with policy makers, occupational health and safety professionals, and business leaders.

Symposium Chairs:

Kurt Straif, Spain
Jonathan M Samet, United States

Symposium Presenters:

Kurt Straif Spain
Jonathan M Samet United States
Kristina Thayer United States
Dorota Jarosinska Germany
Daniel Greenbaum United States
Neil Pearce United Kingdom
Lisa Bero United States
Mary K Schubauer Berigan France

Symposium Description:

Environmental epidemiology aims to identify environmental risk and preventive factors for health, ultimately aiming to improve public health via primary prevention by evidence-informed policies aimed at modifying exposure to environmental determinants of health and via guidelines on individual behavior pertinent to environmental health. Rarely, one single study triggers strong policy measures. Therefore, evidence-informed policy relies on evidence synthesis, integration, and evaluation. There is a long tradition in public health with frameworks for evidence synthesis specifically developed for different subject matter domains and refined over decades in line with the developing science and methodologies pertinent to their respective fields (e.g., cancer hazard identification).

Recently there is a strong ambition from frameworks for evidence synthesis and guideline development primarily originating in clinical medicine (e. g., Cochrane, GRADE) to extend their principles and frameworks to environmental health. Building on last year’s ISEE symposium on GRADE, a task group of ISEE started to develop principles for evidence synthesis and evaluation in environmental health. This symposium will present the evolving ISEE principles, invite feedback from major national and international agencies relying on evidence synthesis in environmental health, and provide ample time for discussion with the audience. The ultimate goal is that this symposium would make significant progress towards a broad consensus on principles of evidence synthesis and evaluation in environmental health that would guide future development of existing frameworks to better fit the specifics of environmental epidemiology and policy needs for environmental public health.

Symposium Chairs:

Beate Ritz, United States
Roel Vermeulen, The Netherlands 

Symposium Presenters:

Kimberly Paul, United States
Berna Van Wendel, Costa Rica
Samuel Fuhrimann, South Africa
Roel Vermeulen, The Netherlands
Melissa Furlong, United States

Symposium Description:

Pesticides are toxins that are intentionally introduced into the environment at a large scale to harm living organisms; often they are designed to be neurotoxic. As pesticides are an important component of intensive industrial scale agriculture and of public health measures such as malaria control, it is not surprising that their use and the variety of products introduced by industry has been growing and changing worldwide with more than 500 active substances approved for use as pesticides in the European Union and the US and low- and middle-income countries still applying the most toxic legacy pesticides that are banned elsewhere.  Exposures are affecting the most vulnerable populations such as those living and working in close proximity to fields in rural area and migrant or poor farm workers. These communities have no voice or influence on the market forces that shape the agroindustry. However, there have recently been calls to better regulate pesticides and learn and apply lessons from the regulation and monitoring of pharmaceuticals i.e. a call for the long-term monitoring of exposures and health effects post approval of use by regulation agencies. This symposium brings together researchers from several regions (North and Central America, Europe and Africa) with extensive experience in studying pesticide-related health effects in communities affected by agricultural pesticide use. The speakers will address important issues that might determine whether such a ‘pesticidovigilance’ approach can be effectively applied. This will include issues such as how to best address multiple and changing pesticide exposures, potential of omics and biomonitoring tools in support of long-term exposure assessment and surveillance in humans, and the importance of state or national pesticide use reporting systems for use in studies of vulnerable individuals and communities.

Symposium Chairs:

Amelia Wesselink, United States
Sabah Quraishi, United States 

Symposium Presenters:

Shruthi Mahalingaiah, United States
Elizabeth Hatch, United States
Sandie Ha, United States
Audrey Gaskins, United States
Anjum Hajat, United States

Symposium Description:

There is growing evidence that air pollution is related to human reproduction. Given that reproductive health outcomes including infertility and spontaneous abortion are common, often understudied, debilitating, and costly health outcomes for which there are documented racial and socioeconomic disparities, it is important to try and understand the relationship between air pollution and reproductive outcomes, particularly given that air pollution is known to disproportionately affect disadvantaged communities. While there is a growing body of research on this topic, it is also important to bring together experts in the field to discuss future directions for this work.

Several different epidemiologic study designs have been used to explore air pollution and reproduction including ecologic, case-control, infertility cohorts, and prospective cohorts with and without preconception enrollment. These studies, in addition to evidence from animal and in vitro studies, have provided some evidence that exposure to particulate matter and other air pollutants are associated with outcomes including subfertility and spontaneous abortion. These outcomes are methodologically challenging to study, as they often go unrecognized or unrecorded in medical records, unlike later pregnancy or birth outcomes. Speakers will discuss innovative solutions to these challenges, the importance of air pollution for climate change and health equity, and what can be done to move the field forward.

Symposium Chairs:

George Thurston, United States
Paul Villeneuve, Canada

Symposium Presenters:

Kelvin Fong, United States
Joan Casey, United States
George Thurston, United States
Atanu Sarker, Canada
Gretchen Goldman, United States
Anne Marie Nicol, Canada

Symposium Description:

The Trump Administration’s regulatory attacks on science and environmental epidemiology, and challenges to incorporating epidemiological studies into provincial and national regulations in Canada, have both awakened an awareness of the need for more civic engagement to insure that the latest science is considered in decision-making.  Only then will the best science be made available to promote environmental health and equity in the regulatory process.  Speakers will discuss how they were involved in carrying out efforts to defend the application and consideration of environmental epidemiology in the United States (US) with case studies on

ozone air pollution, fine particulate matter air pollution, and the “Transparency Rule”, and in Canada with a case study on radon regulation. The symposium will demonstrate the process of providing testimony, submitting comments, and meeting with US EPA and US Office of Management and Budget during the review process. The role of professional societies, such as ISEE, in enabling participation by individual scientists in the legislative and regulatory process. In addition, a lively discussion session involving all speakers will identify future opportunities to support efforts to fully implement the results of environmental epidemiology in regulatory processes. Attendees will come away from this symposium with a better appreciation of the ways in which the society represents their interests, and how they themselves could participate in civic engagement to defend and promote the use of environmental epidemiology in the governmental decision-making.

 

Symposium Chairs:

Richard Kwok, United States
Aubrey Miller, United States 

Symposium Presenters:

Richard Kwok, United States
Jeff Burgess, United States
Irva Hertz Picciotto, United States
Erin Haynes, United States
William Pan, United States
Aubrey Miller, United States

Symposium Description:

The National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Public Health Emergency and Disaster Research Response (DR2) Program leads the nation in building the research infrastructure for executing timely and complex studies that respond to disasters and emerging threats to public health. The NIH’s response to the COVID-19 crises include innovative large-scale efforts to promote critical epidemiologic research through a multifaceted approach that includes: leveraging extramural research centers, networks, and ongoing studies to access study populations; providing targeted funding opportunities; promoting common data measures to facilitate data harmonization and integration that includes creating data warehouses of select research areas. Research conducted in the wake of a disaster can provide information to help mitigate health consequences, support future recovery efforts, and improve resilience.

This symposium will begin by highlighting four major aspects of the NIH effort including the 1)   

DR2 Program’s efforts to collate and host a collection of COVID-19 survey instruments to standardize data collection, encourage comparisons across samples, and facilitate data integration and collaboration; 2) supporting rapid and time-sensitive funding mechanisms at the intersection of environmental health and COVID-19; 3) facilitating critical research with underserved populations and building a data coordination center; and 4) maintaining academic partnerships such as the NIEHS DR2 network to that led a rapid Delphi study to identify environmental health science research gaps related to COVID-19 and fosters knowledge exchange and research through collaborations and symposia. The symposium will close by exploring the potential of implementation science in disaster and public health crisis research response. 

Symposium Chairs:

Jill Baumgartner, Canada
Raphael Arku, United States

Symposium Presenters:

Sierra Clark, United Kingdom
Robert McTavish, Canada
Theo Rashid, United Kingdom
Qiuju Deng, China
Honor Bixby, Canada
Jessica Yu, Canada
Abosede S Alli, United States
Jiayuan Wang, United States

Symposium Description:

Over half the world’s population now lives in cities, and by 2050, this is expected to rise to 70%. Cities provide tremendous opportunities for improving the health and wellbeing of their residents. Despite an overall urban health advantage, there are massive within-city inequalities in relation to environmental and housing factors, including air and noise pollution, poor access to play and outdoor space, and lack of affordable and decent housing. The main objective of this symposium is to stimulate a candid discussion and present emerging scientific evidence from research in 4 global cities (Vancouver, Canada; London, UK; Accra, Ghana; Beijing, China) that are investigating how urban change and development can be directed and managed to bring positive impacts on the health of people, communities and the planet, and to enhance health equity. Through the lens of health equity, these sessions will draw from diverse data sources, including emerging open and big data, novel measurement approaches, and data integration/visualisation to characterize cities’ dynamic social, physical and natural environments, as well as people’s experiences of these environments, and their impacts on health.

Symposium Chairs:

Jada Brooks, United States
Joseph Yracheta, United States 

Symposium Presenters:

Joseph Yracheta, United States
Kevin Patterson, United States
Maggie (Mengyuan) Li, United States
Jada Brooks, United States
Ana Navas-Acien, United States

Symposium Description:

Indigenous communities globally face numerous environmental health challenges derived from anthropogenic (e.g., abandoned mines) and geogenic (i.e., naturally occurring) contamination, the challenges of climate change, and the lack of resources to address those problems. In the US, it is well established that American Indians communities are disproportionately affected by exposure to environmental chemicals, in particular metals, and by a burden of cardiometabolic disease and cancer that could, at least in part, be related to those exposures. For other environmental exposures, however, including air pollution, there is a paucity of data regarding exposure levels, trends over time, and related health effects. In this symposium we will describe ongoing research working in partnership with multiple American Indians communities to describe ongoing participatory research efforts, novel findings regarding exposure to uranium and its potential sources and health effects, trends in air pollution exposure in predominantly American Indian-populated counties, and the health effects of air pollution in American Indian communities. The data presented will come from well-established participatory cohort studies including the Strong Heart Study, as well as from US public data on PM2.5 concentrations from monitoring sites and well-validated prediction models (measured and modeled PM2.5, respectively). Concepts such as tribal sovereignty, data ownership and data sharing (including gene-environment interactions), the need for intervention-oriented research, opportunities for collaboration, and the interest of American Indian communities of being engaged in environmental health research will be discussed. The panel will be moderated by Indigenous scientists who are emerging leaders in the field.

Symposium Chairs:

Roel Vermeulen, The Netherlands
Joakim Dillner, Sweden 

Symposium Presenters:

Roel Vermeulen, The Netherlands
Moris Swertz, The Netherlands
Evert-Ben van Veen, The Netherlands
Sylvain Sebert, Finland
Caspar Willem Safarlou, The Netherlands

Symposium Description:

European citizens are increasingly concerned about the effects of climate change, urbanization, and environmental deterioration on health. This concern is well reflected in the European Green Deal and the cross-cutting zero-pollution strategy that has the ambition to: “protect citizens' health from environmental degradation and pollution, address air and water quality, hazardous chemicals, industrial emissions, pesticides and endocrine disruptors”. Exposome research is recognized by the European Committee as an important innovative research area that could significantly contribute to these ambitions and future policies.

As a result, the European Human Exposome Network (EHEN) was initiated in 2020 as a follow-up of the 1st EU exposome research program that ended in 2017. The network consist out of 9 research projects in which a total of 126 research groups from 24 countries are active. Collectively these projects are tasked to develop a FAIR (Findable Accessible Interoperable Reusable) Toolbox for exposome research including but not limited to the development of new assessment methods for the external (e.g. sensors, geospatial models) and internal exposome (e.g. biomonitoring, OMICs-technologies); linkage of these measures to health records in bespoke and administrative datasets; developing methods for causal and biological interpretation of results; and to translate knowledge into impact through novel intervention strategies.

This symposium will present the EHEN to the ISEE community and will discuss some of the major challenges identified to develop a FAIR network on exposome research in Europe. The aim of the symposium is to increase awareness of ongoing activities in this domain; exchange experiences and formulate a roadmap how efforts in Exposome research (and by extension Environmental Health Research) could be more globally connected to accelerate innovation in environmental sciences.