Binational Forum Hosts Special Workshop on Great Lakes Ecosystem and Human Health Issues


Restoring human and ecosystem health is the focus of a one-day symposium being held in conjunction the International Joint Commission's 1999 Great Lakes Water Quality Forum to be held in Milwaukee, September 23-26, 1999. The symposium is scheduled for Thursday, September 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. in room 103/ABC of the Midwest Express Center. Possible human health impacts from exposure to persistent toxic substances and the potential environmental benefits of restoration activities are among the subjects that will be addressed. The audience will include people from all over the Great Lakes basin that live in areas, such as Milwaukee or the Green Bay area, that are considered pollution "hot spots."

Among the researchers speaking at the symposium are:


  • Dr. Stephen Safe, Texas A&M University, who will address the question of whether endocrine disruptors in the environment are a relevant concern; and
  • Kristan Aronson, Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Queens University, who will discuss possible breast cancer risk from organochlorine exposure, particularly polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

The principal route of exposure to PCBs in the Great Lakes Basin is through the consumption of environmentally contaminated sport fish. Remediation of Grand Calumet River sediment will be discussed:


  • Richard Menozzi and Kenneth Mentzel, both of the U.S. Steel Group of USX Corporation, will discuss a sediment remediation effort planned for the Grand Calumet River in Gary, Indiana.

The governments of the U.S. and Canada, in a 1987 Protocol to The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, designated 42 Areas of Concern around the Great Lakes basin, where poor water quality had caused or was likely to cause impairments to human uses of the water and its ability to support aquatic life. Under this Agreement, the IJC prepares a comprehensive assessment every two years on progress to clean up the Great Lakes including Remedial Action Plans that focus on specific Great Lakes basin Areas of Concern and Lakewide Management Plans to reduce loadings of critical pollutants to open lake waters restoring beneficial uses.

IJC is a binational Canada-United States organization established by The Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 to help the two Governments prevent and resolve disputes over use of waters along the U.S. and Canada boundary. Under the 1978 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, IJC assesses progress by the two counties to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes basin ecosystem.

Contact Frank Bevacqua Washington 202.736.9024 Fabien Lengellé Ottawa 613.995.0088 Jennifer Day Windsor 519.257.6733 or 313.226.2170 ext. 6733