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Environment and Health –
Bridging South, North, East and West
Conference of ISEE, ISES and ISIAQ
Basel, Switzerland 19 – 23 August 2013

Plenary information

Tue 20.08. Plenary hosted by Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
The Global Burden of Diseases: A Critical Environmental Perspective

The recent update of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study has dramatically changed the ranking of and priority given to a range of diseases and risk factors. The new ranking raises new challenges for policy makers and scientists alike. The Opening Plenary features three critical views of the GBD study and discusses its implications for the work of environmental health researchers.

Welcome Address

Welcome of the City of Basel:

Dr. Carlo Conti
Vice-President of the Government of the Canton of Basel-Stadt
Head of Department of Public Health


Environment Health Basel 13' - Dr. Carlo Conti, Vice-President of the Government of the Canton of Basel-Stadt from Swiss TPH on Vimeo.


Presentation 1:

Majid Ezzati, PhD, Chair in Global Environmental Health, Imperial College, London, U.K.
The global risk factor transition: GBD successes and challenges

Majid Ezzati will critically review the environmental risks beyond air pollution and its impact on the burden of disease, emphasizing the similarities and differences between countries in the South, North, East and West.

Majid Ezzati led the Comparative Risk Assessment component of the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors 2010 Study.  He leads the Global Burden of Metabolic Risk Factors for Chronic Diseases, which made the first-ever consistent and comparable estimates of trends in major cardio-metabolic risks for all countries in the world. His research focuses on exposure to and health effects of environmental, behavioural, nutritional and metabolic risk factors and their interventions, with emphasis on health inequalities.

Presentation 2:

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Nicole Probst-Hensch, PhD, Deputy Head of Department, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland
A critical view of GBD 2010: What is missing and what next?

Nicole Probst-Hensch will present a critical view of the GBD 2010 by putting its findings in the context of open questions and future challenges for the research community.

Nicole Probst-Hensch is an expert in chronic disease epidemiology, specializing in the interactions between environmental and molecular factors. She is scientific director of the Swiss SAPALDIA cohort study and leads the Chronic Disease Epidemiology Unit at Swiss TPH.

Alan D. Lopez, PhD, University of Melbourne, Australia
Global Burden of Disease 2010: The worldwide epidemiological transition

We regret to announce that Prof. Alan Lopez cannot make it to Basel. We recommend reading his related IJPH Editorial just published in the context of our conference.




Introducing presentation by Nino Künzli, Martina Ragettli and Martin Röösli



Nino Künzli, MD, PhD
Deputy Director and Head of Department, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute Basel (Swiss TPH); Chair of the Conference



Martin Röösli, PhD
Head of Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute Basel (Swiss TPH); Co-Chair of the Conference


Wed 21.08. Plenary hosted by the International Society for Indoor Air Quality and Climate (ISIAQ)
Risk and Health: Following the Path of Exposure

When searching for the sources of hazardous exposures, researchers often end up examining the role of the indoor environment. This session features illustrative examples of interdisciplinary, cross-media, indoor air quality and climate science, using the “full chain model” to follow hazardous exposures from the source to environmental exposure to human uptake and, finally, to health effects. The role of ISIAQ’s members in this endeavour will also be discussed.

Welcome Address

Welcome of the University of Basel:

Prof. Dr. Edwin (Ed) Constable
Vice-Rector for Research, Head of Research and Talent Promotion of the University Basel/p>



Presentation 1:

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Charles J. Weschler, PhD, Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences Institute, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA
Indoor Environments: Shaped by interplay of human bodies with chemicals of outdoor and indoor origin

Across the developed world, a substantial fraction of exposure to airborne pollutants occurs indoors. The pollutants that we inhale and dermally absorb indoors are a mix of chemicals with both outdoor and indoor sources. Occupants have an impact on this mix, not only through their activities, but also by their very presence. Charles J. Weschler will explain how the chemical composition of a room can change in surprising ways, simply as a consequence of occupancy.

Charles J. Weschler received his Ph.D. in Chemistry at University of Chicago. He has served on the Science Advisory Board, US EPA and four National Academy of Sciences committees. He has published more than 100 peer reviewed papers (h-index of 40) and is a fellow of the International Academy of Indoor Air Sciences.

Presentation 2:

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Carl-Gustaf Bornehag, Professor in Public Health Sciences; Karlstad University, Sweden
Environmental health risks should be studied with an interdisciplinary approach

There is an on-going need to learn where exposures come from, how they are released into the surrounding environment, how these exposures are taken up by our bodies, how uptake can affect human health and, ultimately, how to avoid or reduce hazardous exposures. Carl-Gustaf Bornehag will discuss how to search for new and valid knowledge regarding environmental health risks.

Carl-Gustaf Bornehag is an epidemiologist specialising in early life exposure to environmental stressors and its implications for pediatric and adult chronic health effects. He has published more than 60 peer reviewed articles. He is a fellow of the International Academy of Indoor Air Sciences and a member of the IOC.

Presentation 3:

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Pawel L. Wargocki, Associate Professor DTU Civil Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
The role of ISIAQ in fostering research to promote healthy, comfortable and productive indoor environments

Indoor exposures have become an important determinant of the quality of life. To minimize the potential risks, a multidisciplinary approach is needed, involving all disciplines relevant to indoor air sciences and practice, from medicine to engineering. ISIAQ fosters this approach by creating a meeting point for the unbiased exchange of research ideas and solutions.

Pawel L. Wargocki is ISIAQ President; Chair Environmental Health Committee, ASHRAE; Member, International Academy of Indoor Air Sciences; studied effects of IAQ on health, sensory perception & mental performance; published extensively


Glenn Morrison, PhD, MSc
ISIAQ Vice President/President-elect; Professor
of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at the Missouri University of Science & Technology, USA



Hal Levin, B.A., B. Architecture
Research Architect
, Building Ecology Research Group, Santa Cruz, California; ISIAQ Administrator


Thu 22.08. – Plenary hosted by the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE)
European Year of Air: The Role of Environmental Epidemiology in Science and Legislation

This plenary highlights the role of environmental epidemiology in driving scientific discoveries and legislative action. Francesco Forastiere will describe his recent work in Italy, discussing it in the context of European and global findings. This year’s Goldsmith awardee (to be announced), will speak on a topic of his or her choice, describing the breakthroughs in knowledge, methodology and their societal impacts.

Welcome Address

Welcome from WHO:

Dr. Maria Neira
Director, Public Health and Environment, World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, Switzerland



Presentation 1:

Francesco Forastiere, MD, PhD; Department of Epidemiology, Lazio Regional Health Service, Rome, Italy
Epidemiologic studies near industrial plants: Lessons and perspectives from an Italian case study

Environmental and epidemiologic investigations around a large steel plant in Southern Italy formed the basis of a 2012 court order calling for several sections of the factory to close, due to violations of environmental laws and links to health disorders. The old dichotomy between industrial production and environmental/health protection is apparent again in the conflict between economic development and employment on the one side and environmental safety and public health on the other. Francesco Forastiere will discuss how epidemiology deals with these conflicts.

Francesco Forastiere has a medical background in respiratory and occupational medicine and has been conducting studies on the health effects of air pollution and other environmental factors, over the last thirty years. He focuses on applying scientific research findings to a wide range of public health issues, including air pollution from urban and industrial sources, environmental tobacco smoke, radon in houses, and waste disposal.

Presentation 2:

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John Goldsmith Award Lecture

The International Society for Environmental Epidemiology is very pleased to honor  Michal Krzyzanowski, ScD, with the 2013 John Goldsmith Award for his “sustained and outstanding contributions to the knowledge and practice of environmental epidemiology.” He will present the John Goldsmith Memorial lecture at the conference. This annual award was established to honor John Goldsmith, one of the organizers, early leaders, and constant supporters of the ISEE, who passed away in October 1999. Recipients have typically contributed in substantive and innovative fashion to the methods and practice of epidemiology over many years. ISEE pays awardees’ conference registration and travel costs.

Awardee: Michal Krzyzanowski, ScD, has promoted environmental epidemiology as a major tool for developing guidelines protecting environmental health and supporting regulatory standards. He is highly esteemed both for his scientific knowledge as well as for his diplomatic skills, integrity, and persuasive rigor.


Annette Peters, PhD
President of the Society for Environmental Epidemiology at Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Center for Environmental Health, Neuherberg, Germany



Beate Ritz, MD, PhD (ISEE representative on IOC)
Chair Department of Epidemiology, Center for Occupational and Environmental Health
Fielding School of Public Health, UCLA, USA


Fri 23.08. – Plenary hosted by the International Society of Exposure Sciences (ISES)
Exposure Science: Wesolowski Award Lecture and Panel’s Response to Lecture

Exposure science is a rapidly growing field that is critical to both risk assessment and environmental epidemiology.  This Plenary will consist of the Wesolowski Award Lecture and a panel will discuss three themes from the talk: the integration of exposure and response; exposure science in low and middle income countries; and training future generations of exposure scientists.

Welcome Address

Welcome from the Swiss Lung Association:

Sonja Bietenhard
MSc, Director Swiss Lung Association, Bern, Switzerland




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Jerome J. Wesolowski Award Lecture

Clifford Weisel, Clifford Weisel, PhD, Professor, Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences Institute, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
The Wesolowski Award recognizes outstanding contributions to the knowledge and practice of human exposure.  Dr. Weisel’s talk is entitled “Incorporating Biomarkers in Exposure Science and Educating our Next Generation of Scientists.”



Three experts in exposure science will briefly comment on elements of Dr. Weisel’s Talk, followed by an open question and answer session.

David Balshaw,Program Director, Center for Risk and Integrated Sciences, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, US National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA.
Dr. Balshaw will discuss efforts to integrate exposure and response across scales in human studies, including emerging technologies and computational approaches to enable analysis of the individual exposome and the hypothesis-free discovery of associations between environmental exposures and disease.


Kalpana Balakrishnan, PhD, Professor & Director WHO Collaborating Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai, India.
Dr. Balakrishnan will discuss the developing country perspective on building capacity for exposure science research. Drawing upon her experience with major international capacity building efforts such as the Fogarty ITREOH and GTZ-CIM programs, she will discuss special requirements for sustainability of  exposure assessment in low and middle income countries, especially in relation to research and policy needs in South Asia.


Paloma Beamer, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Arizona Zuckerman College of Public Health, Tucson, AZ, USA
Dr. Beamer will discuss past and current efforts by ISES to help build the next generation of exposure scientists, and will explore new ideas for strengthening the field.



Richard A. Fenske, Professor
President, ISES, University of Washington School of Public Health, Seattle, WA, USA



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