The 38th International Symposium on Halogenated Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) & 10th International PCB Workshop, commonly known as Dioxin Conference, took place in Krakow, Poland during the last week of August (read the post announcing this year’s conference). The conference, attended by more than 700 delegates, discussed the analysis, distribution, toxicology, and regulation of many substances including dioxins, chorinated paraffins, brominated flame retardants, PCBs and more. The conference provides a great networking opportunity so we asked a number of experts to share their highlights for the 2018 edition. If you were not able to join the conference, here is your chance to gain an insight from their answers to the following questions:
- What topics did you find most interesting in the 2018 conference?
- What is your take-away from 2018 conference?
- What would you like to see at the next Dioxin Conference?
A common highlight was the new opinions on the toxicity of Dioxins and Dioxin-like PCBs and PFOS in food and beverage for human intake, presented by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
A spokesman of the Food Standards Agency indicated that this will have a great impact on the work of risk managers: mean exposures are going to be adjusted to new guidance levels, which in turn will trigger a review of the existing regulations for the limits in food. New and more detailed regulations on contaminants in food, aimed at protecting consumers’ health, might be the outcome of the review. An EU governmental agency added that changes to the regulations will impact the analytical methods as well.
David Hope (Pacific Rim Laboratories, Inc., Vancouver, Canada) explained that lower limits means that laboratories will need to focus even more on the quality of the data and perform even more challenging analysis. As a consequence, analytical methods and tools will be affected as more sensitivity is needed. Watch the interview with David here and attend his webinar here.
Martin Rose (Independent scientist, food and environmental chemical safety. Honorary Senior Lecturer, University of Manchester) reported that this year there was a huge number of presentations on chlorinated paraffins. He believes that more work is yet to come, because of increasing interest on other emergent contaminants.
Form the point of view of a spokesman of an EU governmental agency, the focus of research is switching to new and emerging classes of other pollutants, judging by the decreasing number of presentations on analysis of dioxins, for which methods are well established.
This view is shared also by Vittorio Esposito (ARPA Puglia – Environmental Protection Agency of Apulia, Taranto, Italy): “For dioxin analysis there is a consolidated amount of knowledge available, although it is important to continue research. Still, new groups of pollutants (for example, fluorinated compounds) now need the most attention.”
Looking from the Environmental Protection governmental agency’s point of view, Vittorio Esposito also commented that regulations and legislation alone are no longer sufficient to provide citizens an adequate level of protection. In fact, the number of chemicals that are found in the environment increases dramatically every year to the point that legislation struggles to keep up; dealing with legacy pollutants only.
Elena Zaffonato (Merieux Nutrisciences, Italy) is very satisfied with the mix of technical knowledge and application examples presented. She found the latest developments in instrument technologies and applications presented at the Thermo Fisher Scientific seminars very interesting (have a look at the presentations here).
As many other participants, Stephan Ahlbrand (Wessling, Germany) appreciated the opportunity given by the conference to build networking and share knowledge with the community members.
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The presentations about non-targeted identifications for toxicology purposes were of interest to Gianfranco Brambilla, who would like to see more about cellomics-bioassay research for the study of adverse outcome pathways.
Looking to the future Dioxin Conference, both Martin Rose and a spokesman from an EU Governmental Agency believes that the natural evolution of the conference focus should be on methods and application examples for the analysis of emerging POPs. Stephan Ahlbrand would like to see new developments for sample preparation with practical examples and real-world applications. According to Elena Zaffonato, more information and insights on regulatory and legal perspectives for the different regions would be of interest. Vittorio Esposito, as a lab manager, looks forward to more innovations (and then presentations) on the technical solutions, both for sampling and analysis: “I believe they will further go towards compactness, miniaturization, ease-of-use, automation and cost-effectiveness. On the other hand, I would like to see more toxicological and epidemiological research aimed at evaluating cumulative risks, associated with multiple and synergic group of molecules, since it is clear that individual effects, known for single molecules alone, never account for observed outcomes.”
With this years’ experience in mind, we look forward to the Dioxin Conference 2019, taking place in Kyoto, Japan, and meeting the community again with new research and applications for the analysis of Dioxins and POPs.
Special thanks to those who contributed with their feedback.
See you in Kyoto!
For the presentations of Thermo Fisher Scientific Seminars visit: thermofisher.com/DioxinConference
For videos and resources visit: thermofisher.com/GoldStandard
Download the new resource guide containing information on the history of POPs, the implications of their early occurrence, and today’s analytical testing methods for their accurate determination in chemical laboratories as an introduction to this global issue
If you want to know more about POPs in food take a look at the brochure.