We are planning to have 9-10 plenary lectures delivered by renown scientists. At present we can confirm 7 speakers that agreed to deliver a lecture. More information on additional speakers will be added soon.

Professor Ricardo Barra

Prof. Ricardo Barra, is a Full Professor and  Director of the Eula Chile Center, Universidad de Concepcións a Universidad de Concepción, Chile. He is environmental chemist and toxicologist.

Dr. Barra is a Biochemist and PhD in Environmental Sciences at the University of Concepción Chile, since over 25 years have been working on POPs pollution in Chile and in the south American region. He was a member of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee of the Stockholm Convention (2008-2012) and also a chemicals and waste Panel member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF, 2014-2018), his research focuses on the fate and effects of pollutants in the environment with a special interest in the fish biomarkers field and effects assessment in aquatic ecosystems and also in the interdisciplinary field of sustainability issues. Dr. Barra has also helped the implementation of risk assessment procedures for chemicals registration in the aquaculture facilities in Chile, currently is enrolled as scientific advisor of the International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3) based in Germany and is the Director of the EULA Chile Environmental Sciences Centre at the University of Concepción in Chile, as well as researcher of the Coastal Socio Ecological Millenium Institute (SECOS) and the Water Research Centre for Agriculture and Mining in Chile (CRHIAM). He  will lecture on Persistent Chemicals in the South American Environment: ¿Where we can go from here?.

Dr. Linda Birnbaum

Dr. Linda Birnbaum, A board certified toxicologist, Dr. has served as the Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Toxicology Program (NTP). Prior to her appointment as NIEHS and NTP director in 2009, she spent 19 years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), where she directed the largest division focusing on environmental health research. Birnbaum started her federal career with 10 years at NIEHS,first as a senior staff fellow in the National Toxicology Program, then as a principal investigator and research microbiologist, and finally as a group leader for the institute’s Chemical Disposition Group. Birnbaum has received many awards and recognitions. In October 2010, she was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, one of the highest honors in the fields of medicine and health. She was al so elected to the Collegium Ramazzini, and received an honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Rochester, and a Distinguished Alumna Award from the University of Illinois. At Present she is a Scholar In Residence in the Environmental Sciences and Policy Division, 2020-2025 at Duke University

Dr. Birnbaum will deliver the plenary lecture on Comparisons Between the Dioxin and PFAS in a Broad Environmental, Health and Economic Perspective

Susan Burden, Ph.D.

Dr. Susan Burden is the Executive Lead for PFAS in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development and a member of the EPA Council on PFAS. She started her career at EPA in 2010 after earning a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) provides the best available science and technology to inform and support public health and environmental decision-making. Over the past several years, ORD has been working to expand the scientific foundation for understanding and addressing risks from PFAS. Dr. Burden will give an overview of key PFAS research needs for environmental decision-making and ongoing ORD efforts to address these needs.   

Dr. Gaud Dervilly

Dr. Gaud Dervilly is a researcher, holding a PhD in Food Science (2001) completed with a specialization in public health in 2009. She is head deputy of LABERCA Research Unit (INRAe/Oniris, France) and scientific adviser. She manages research projects to address chemical food safety issues to characterize consumer’s exposure and study the effects of chemical exposure, involving targeted and non-targeted mass spectrometric strategies, such as metabolomics. She is author of ~130 scientific articles (h-index 29) and received the Euroresidue Award for “Excellent Contribution in Residue Analysis” in 2012. She teaches at the academic level at Nantes University (France), is a regular lecturer at SARAF (School for Advanced Residue Analysis) and VLAG (Wageningen University, NL). Membership in scientific councils both at institutional levels (National Veterinary College, Nantes) and at international scientific event (Euroresidue, NL; International Food and Water Research Center, Singapore).

Dr. Gaud Dervilly will deliver a lecture entitled “Towards a characterization of the ever-expanding consumer chemical exposome: strategies and technical solutions”

Professor Cynthia de Witt

Prof. Cynthia de Wit, is a professor of environmental science at the Department of Environmental Science, Stockholm University. She received her Ph.D. from the Lund University, Sweden, in 1988. She led a national study of polychlorinated dioxins and related chemicals in the Swedish environment at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, before moving to Stockholm University. Over the past 20 years her research has focussed on the analysis of legacy and emerging flame retardants (brominated, chlorinated, organophosphate-based) in indoor and outdoor environments. This has included human exposure assessments for both adults and children as well as studies of levels and trends in terrestrial and Baltic Sea food webs. Currently her research is focused on the mass balance of organohalogen compounds in a sewage treatment plant using a combination of targeted and non-targeted approaches. She is a co-lead of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Expert Group of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) since 1994. In that role, she has helped lead five international assessment reports on persistent organic pollutants, including contaminants of emerging concern, in the Arctic.

Prof. De Witt will give an overview of Recent Developments and Comparisons Regarding Organohalogenated Flame Retardants Being Found in Food Webs of The Arctic And Baltic Sea, Including Results for New Halogenated Flame Retardants such as Chlorinated Paraffins. 

Professor Miriam Diamond

Prof. Miriam Diamond. She is a Professor at the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Toronto. Dr. Diamond research is motivated by the need to develop defensible strategies to reduce chemical contaminants in the environment and to identify and connect sources of chemical emissions to the   movement of chemicals through systems and ultimately to exposure.  She focuses on the systems with relatively high levels of contaminants such as indoor environments and outdoor urban systems.  Her methods include mathematical modelling, sampling (and developing methods to sample various environments) and analytical chemistry. 

Dr. Diamond will talk about  fate, transport, environmental analysis and human exposure to halogenated persistent organic Pollutants

Dr. P. Lee Ferguson

Dr. P. Lee Ferguson is an Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering at Duke University in Durham, NC. He received B.S. degrees from the University of South Carolina in Chemistry and Marine Science in 1997 before earning a Ph.D. in Coastal Oceanography at State University of New York – Stony Brook in 2002. His postdoctoral research was conducted in the area of proteomics at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, WA.  Before joining Duke, Dr. Ferguson was an Assistant and Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of South Carolina.

Research in the Ferguson laboratory is focused on Environmental Analytical Chemistry. Specifically, a major thrust of research in the lab involves the application of high resolution, accurate mass (HRAM) mass spectrometry coupled with multidimensional chromatographic separations, bioaffinity isolation techniques, and chemoinformatic methods to detect, identify, and quantify emerging contaminants (including endocrine disruptors, pharmaceuticals, surfactants, and persistent organic pollutants) in wastewater and drinking water.  His recent work has centered on the development of non-targeted analysis workflows and methods and on the assessment of polyfluorinated alkyl substances in water and wastewater.

Professor Hrissi K. Karapanagioti

Prof. Hrissi K. Karapanagioti is an associate professor of Environmental Chemistry with emphasis on liquid pollution in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Patras, Greece. She has earned her Masters and PhD from the Department of Civil Engineering and Environmental Sciences at the University of Oklahoma, USA. She is also an adjunct professor in the Graduate Program “Waste Management” in the Hellenic Open University, Greece and in 2012 was a visiting professor at Newcastle University, UK.

Since 2004, her research interests include plastic and microplastic pollution in terms of monitoring, plastic degradation and microplastic formation, interaction of plastics with organic pollutants and microorganisms. She is the co-editor of two books related to plastic and microplastic pollution with Springer and IWA, co-author of several papers on the same topic, and co-organizer and presenter of several sessions organized by G20, GESAMP, UNEP, IAEA, EGU, NOAA, etc. She is also interested in the development of sorbent materials such as biochars for the removal of hydrophobic organic pollutants, dyes, and metals from water and wastewater.

Her talk will provide an overview on “Microplastics: Sources to Sink and Physical and Chemical effects”

Analytical and Sampling:

  1. New advances in detection and analysis of POPs in environmental and biological media.


  2. Sampling, analysis and detection of PFAS and related compounds in air, groundwater, and soil.


  3. Halogenated polyaromatic hydrocarbons – complex analysis problem.

Epidemiology and Risk assessment

  1. Human exposure to PFAS and related substances through food containers use and other daily life objects.


  2. Perfluorinated compounds in food products.


  3. Exposure to halogenated POPs and Diabetes.


  4. Cohort studies of POPs exposure.


  5. Integrating toxicology, epidemiology and exposure.

Toxicology and Ecotoxicology

  1. Toxicology and metabolism of PFAS and other fluorinated compounds.
  2. Toxicology and metabolism of mixed chloro-bromo-fluoro dioxins and furans.


  3. Xenoestrogens – activity and mechanisms.


  4. Endocrine disruption chemicals – activity and mechanisms.


  5. POPs and Ahr receptor activity.


  6. Neurotoxicity of halogenated POPs.


  7. Biomagnification and bioconcentration of nanoplastics.


  8. Cancer and halogenated POPs.

Fate and Transport

  1. Air–solid and air-liquid partitioning of POPs.


  2. Long range transport of PFAS.


  3. Micro and nanoplastic transport.


  4. Nanoplastics in ambient air particulates.


  5. Detection of halogenated organics in Antarctic.


  6. Modeling fate and transport of POPs.


  7. Dioxins: formation mechanism, fate and decomposition pathways 


  1. PFAS and other fluorinated compounds – water and leachate treatment.


  2. Incineration and thermal treatment of fluorinated POPs.


  3. Dehalogenation of contaminated soils and sediments.


  4. Treatment of consumer products containing brominated flame retardants What to do with all this wastes? – brominated flame retardants.



  5. Recycling of halogenated products– environmental risks and benefits.


  6. Bioremediation of halogenated POPs.


  7. Microbial degradation of PFAS, brominated flame retardants and halogenated PAH.


  8. Source of halogenated compounds in the environment.

Environmental Assessment

  1. Property and activity modelling of POPs


  2. Geographical and Geopolitical extend of PFAS impact.


  3. Spatial and temporal trends of halogenated POPs in abiotic compartments.


  4. Spatial and temporal trends of halogenated POPs in biota compartments.


  5. Spatial and temporal distribution of mixed chloro-bromo-fluoro dioxins and furans in the environmental media.


  6. Emissions of mixed chloro-bromo-fluoro dioxins and furans from thermal and industrial sources.


  7. Halogenated POPs in developing countries.


  8. Indoor concentration of brominated flame retardants.


  9. Indoor concentration of fluorinated compounds.


  10. Changing profile of brominated flame retardants in the environment.


  11. Passive sampling methods for environmental assessment  Gulf of Mexico –levels, stratified, spatial and temporal distributions of halogenated POPs.

General Sessions

  1. POPs Analysis.


  2. POPs in Food.


  3. Epidemiology and exposure.


  4. Risk assessment of chemical exposure.


  • Transfer from science discoveries to policies – lessons learned from COVID-19.
    New trends in risk assessment of chemicals exposure.
From Good Science to Good Risk Management

The goal of this session is to illustrate how good science leads to good regulatory decisions, and the ultimate outcome of that process, the reduction of health and environmental risks associated with organohalogens.   Risk managers initially depend on scientific researchers to flag a need to address a specific environmental problem.  Very basic to this determination is toxicological information, and environmental and human health monitoring and analysis to highlight exposure scenarios.  Risk managers, then, depend on research to quantify the problem so that proportional action can be determined, to provide direction on how to address the problem, and also to highlight specific management measures and factors which should be taken into account to guide the management process.  Fundamental parts of this determination include the fine-tuning of analytical techniques, epidemiological research, and information on chemical transformation and physical transport of these substances which enhance our predictive abilities in determining exposure.  Research into environmental remediation techniques further expands the range of potential risk management choices.

It is proposed that this session highlight examples involving organohalogens, illustrating exactly how this process has worked, from research to regulation, and how it has contributed to good risk management decisions.

Possible sub-topics of this session include:

– Analytical innovation and the development of accurate and affordable sampling methods to provide direction in the need for and focus of risk management.

 – The development of more complex, fully integrated assessment tools to better inform risk assessment, and subsequently, risk management decisions.

–  Broad approaches to assessing risks and implications for risk management: How to maximize assessment efficiencies which in turn leads to more efficient risk management.

– The need for risk management adaptation prompted by new occurrences or new information, i.e., the re-circulation of dioxins and other POPs in Arctic regions due to global warming of frozen deposits, and determination of management approaches.

 – Global collaboration in the management of organohalogens based on the dissemination of toxicological information which in turn has prompted risk management decision and action by governments around the word, culminating in a global effort to reduce the presence of these substances.

Bio- and Phytoremediation for Clean-Up of Persistent Organic Pollutants

This session will concentrate on nature-based remediation options for persistent organic pollutants. Microorganisms indeed are very ‘creative’ in using all kinds of organic molecules as a source of energy. After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, for example, it was found that most of the energy-rich hydrocarbon compounds that spilled into the ocean were ‘consumed’ by microbes, thus resolving the problem. Halogenated compounds, such a PCBs, contain much less energy than hydrocarbon compounds. Nevertheless, microbes can still use them. For PFAS, the situation is not clear yet, but in any case different from PCBs. Carbon-fluorine bonds are much stronger and thus more difficult to break than carbon-chlorine bonds. Moreover, during evolution, microbes were in contact with naturally occurring chlorinated compounds. It is therefore not surprising that when they encounter human-made chlorinated pollutants like PCBs, they don’t consider them as totally foreign. However, naturally occurring fluorinated molecules are rare, certainly those with more than one fluorine atom. Since most human-made PFAS contain many fluorine atoms, it is not evident, but not excluded, that specific microbes (or consortia of microbes) can cope with it.

Many microbes developed in close interactions with plants, either in the rhizosphere and phyllosphere or even inside the plants. Since, due to the presence of many plant exudates, the numbers of microbes in the rhizosphere are 10 and often more than 100 times higher than in the bulk soil, co-metabolization of human-made pollutants can be important. Plant thus can increase the degradation potential of pollutants, which has been demonstrated in many cases. Moreover, due to the evapotranspiration of water, plants act like ‘pumps’ and thus attract pollutants to their root zone. Plant further ‘catch’ plenty of gaseous and particulate pollutants from the atmosphere which allows the phyllosphere microbes to cope with them.

Environmentally Persistent Free Radicals (EPFRs) as new class of pollutant

In this specific session a discussion platform is suggested to the researchers worldwide to talk about “Environmental Persistent Free Radicals (EPFRs)” as new class of pollutants. The more than decadal research performed in superfund research program (SRP) at LSU about formation and toxicological consequences of resonantly stabilized radicals (lately known as Environmentally Persistent Free Radicals – EPFRs) reveals the fact that EPFRs are significant contributor on overall potency of particulate matter (PM).

It is now well-known fact that EPFRs are deriving mostly from incomplete combustion of organic materials; they are typically formed on particulate matter through interaction with aromatic hydrocarbons, catalyzed by transition metal oxides, and produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) in biological media that may initiate oxidative stress. The origin and nature of EPFRs, studied for a long time in superfund research program (SRP) at LSU since 2007, was expanded and dispersed over many research laboratories worldwide. To illustrate the importance placed on these EPFR compounds by the research community and the society at large, it is interesting to note the explosion of literature related to the topics of “EFPR” or “environmentally persistent free radicals” in the last five decades, especially with the onset of the ground-breaking research initiated at LSU in the early 2000’s.

A brief listing of the large distribution of EPFRs in different environmental samples can be outlined.

  • environmental particulates PM5,
  • contaminated soil and sediment samples,
  • Superfund soil samples in the USA,
  • samples from plants’ phytometric measurements
  • EPFRs on engineered nanoparticles.
  • EPFRs on biochars, carbonaceous adsorbents etc.

A comprehensive description of formation, characteristics, and applications of surface bound EPFRs is continuously presented in number of high-level publications.

There is also a particular interest toward formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) from interaction of EPFRs with biological media, from photochemical processes occurring in the atmosphere such as a wide range of ROSs appear in the gas phase of secondary organic aerosols as very unstable intermediate products, such as hydrogen peroxide, organic peroxides, diacyl peroxide, peroxynitrite, etc., and in the particulate phase. A significant and a thorough research was reported recently about the particle bound – reactive oxygen species, PB-ROS, including neutral intermediate organics, among radicals associated with PM.

We expect an exciting discussion of detection/identification of EPFRs from combustion systems, waste incinerators, automobile combustion engines, refineries, biomass burning and many other thermal treatment sites.

Wildland and wildland-urban interface (WUI) firefighting: Current knowledge and new studies

While exposures to municipal firefighters and cancer outcomes have been studied repeatedly, much less is known about the exposures and health effects in wildland and WUI firefighters. This is despite the marked increase in wildland fires in many countries throughout the world.  This session will bring together an international group of researchers with current wildland/WUI studies to share existing results and study protocols. Members of the fire service will be invited to provide input on study design and recommendations for dissemination of study results and suggestions for and/or implementation of interventions to reduce exposures.

Sessions will cover:  

Fire effluents determination (measurements)

  • Fire effluents (WUI)
  • Personal (wristband, sensors)
  • Biomarkers of exposure (urine, blood, etc.)
  • Air/Soil/Water
  • Drones/Satelites etc.

Contamination sources

  • Workplace (PPE)
  • Firefighting techniques (foams)


  • Biomonitoring for toxicity (blood/urine etc.)
  • Cancers
  • Diseases (Cardiovascular etc.)
  • Mental health

Regulation/Guidance/Best practice

  • Cancer registry
  • Best practice/minimising exposure to toxicants
  • Preventative health screening
  • Presumptive legislation
Global monitoring of POPs

This goal of this session is to provide a better insight in monitoring data of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) worldwide. Since the start of the Stockholm Convention this list of POPs has gradually increased. A global monitoring program was established to follow POP concentrations in matrices such as human milk, air, and water around the world with the aim to assess temporal and spatial trends and in that way follow the effectiveness of the implementation of measures taken under the Convention. Results of such monitoring programs are coming available more and more and worthwhile to show and discuss. In addition to the global monitoring plan, results of comparable studies for other matrices are most welcome to complement this session. These studies should be geographical and temporal trend studies carried out in specific regions, such as the Arctic or Antarctica, or on various continents. Results of POP monitoring in all types of matrices, such as fish, sediment, air (active or passive air monitoring), water or human matrices are welcome. In addition to the traditional organohalogen compounds such as PCBs, organochlorine pesticides or dioxin-like compounds, results on relatively ‘new’ POPs, such as PFAS, brominated flame retardants and chlorinated paraffins are of specific interest. Also, results on some POPs on which until now relatively little information has been gathered such as kepone and toxaphene are welcome.