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Conference: Drinking Water Disinfection By-Products:, Disinfection 2100, Linking Engineering, Chemistry, Toxicology and Epidemiology, 30JUL-4AUG, 2017, Mt. Holyoke College, MA

Mitch, William
Gordon Research Conferences
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Disinfection of drinking water is one of the major public health achievements of the last century; however, but the chemical byproducts (disinfection by-products) that form represent one of the most widespread exposures to potentially harmful chemicals. Optimizing the balance between the acute risk posed by pathogens and the chronic risk posed by disinfection by-products is becoming more challenging as utilities experiment with new disinfectant combinations and exploit impaired waters. The 2017 Gordon Research Conference on Drinking Water Disinfection By-Products (DBPs) will present cutting-edge research to address this challenge from the fields of engineering, chemistry, toxicology, epidemiology and regulatory policy. The 2017 meeting, entitled Disinfection 2100: Linking Engineering, Chemistry, Toxicology, and Epidemiology to Reduce Exposure to Toxicity Drivers While Curtailing Pathogens, will take place from July 30-August 4, 2017 at Mt. Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA.

The conference has two main goals. The first goal is to broaden the scope beyond DBP formation within conventional drinking water plants. The first two sessions will directly address the balance between the acute risk associated with pathogens and the chronic risk linked to DBPs. The first session will evaluate disinfectant reactions with pathogens, recognizing that the biomolecular transformations responsible for pathogen kill are DBPs. The second session will cover tradeoffs between microbial growth and DBPs within distribution systems, the least evaluated sector of drinking water systems. The sixth section will focus on DBPs in wastewater recycling, particularly which DBPs contribute most to toxicity and how to control them. The conference will also include new arenas for DBPs, including the formation of DBPs during food processing. The second goal is to move towards a solution to the DBP problem. A major strength of this conference is that it brings together engineers, chemists, toxicologists, epidemiologists and regulators, the key players for addressing this problem. Previous conferences have concluded that there is no feasible way to control pathogens without producing DBPs, so the challenge is to achieve the best balance that minimizes exposure to the DBPs driving risk. Sessions will link chemistry and toxicology to identify these toxicity drivers. Session 8 will feature discussions among chemists, exposure experts and epidemiologists about how the ideal epidemiology study should be designed to provide the evidence to link exposure to human health risks. Session 9 will conclude with presentations and a discussion regarding how to design water treatment systems that minimize toxicity drivers, including a presentation from a Dutch utility on how to avoid the use of disinfectants in drinking water distribution systems. With US utilities currently modifying their disinfection schemes and exploiting impaired water supplies, it is important for experts in engineering, chemistry, toxicology, epidemiology and regulatory policy to discuss the risk balance between pathogens and DBPs resulting from these new practices. The 4.5-day Gordon Research Conference format, with lengthy discussion periods and ample provision for informal discussions and social interactions, is particularly suited to promoting the needed multidisciplinary approach. The Conference will be preceded by a 1.5-day Gordon Research Seminar (GRS), organized by early career scientists. The GRS will feature presentations by graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and a career mentoring panel by established academic, government and industrial scientists. Gordon Conferences are often considered the pre-eminent conferences in their fields. By highlighting emerging researchers as presenters in the GRC and encouraging the development of young scientists through the GRS, this conference will help lay a solid foundation for multidisciplinary research for the next generation of scientists.
Funding Source
United States Nat'l. Science Fndn.
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Prevention and Control
Policy and Planning
Education and Training