International Joint Commission Hosts Cleveland Conference on Human Health and Aquatic Life Effects of Toxic Substances

Jennifer Day Windsor, ON (313) 226-2170 ext. 6733 Bruce Kirschner Windsor, ON (313) 226-2170 ext. 6710 Michael Gilbertson Windsor, ON (313) 226-2170 ext. 6706


International Joint Commission Hosts Cleveland Conference on Human Health and Aquatic Life Effects of Toxic Substances

Human health effects from exposure to persistent toxic substances are the lead topic of a one-day conference hosted by the International Joint Commission (IJC). The conference is being held on Friday, September 19, 1997, 9 a.m., at the Great Lakes Science Center, 601 Erieside Ave., Cleveland. Although attendance is limited to the first 200 registrants, the media is invited to attend. Interviews will be available with individual researchers and IJC staff..

To kick-off the morning human health discussion, Dr. Heraline Hicks, Ph.D, a senior environmental health scientist with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, will provide an overview of various human health studies related to eating Great Lakes fish. Other researchers will report on human health studies that have found: reproductive function may be disrupted and neurobehavioral and developmental deficits occur in newborns and continue through school-age children from in utero exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other persistent toxic substances, which are found in the Great Lakes; effects, such as liver disease and diabetes, may be associated with elevated serum levels of PCBs; and increased cancer risks are associated with PCB exposures. Studies include data to support earlier work showing exposure to low levels of PCBs before birth can result in long-lasting deficits in a child's intellectual development.

The afternoon session will focus on the effects of persistent toxic substances, such as PCBs, on fish and wildlife. Research on certain wildlife and fish species and bald eagles will be presented.

The International Joint Commission is a binational Canada-United States organization established help the two Governments prevent and resolve disputes over use of waters along the U.S. and Canada Boundary, such as the Great Lakes. 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. Additional information about IJC is available on the Internet at



Lakewide Management Plan Workshop

Human Health and Aquatic Life Considerations: Examining the Effects of Persistent Toxic Substances

Friday, September 19, 1997 Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland


9:00 a.m.

Welcome -Doug McTavish, director, International Joint Commission Great Lakes Regional Office

Human Health Considerations

9:15 a.m.

Public Health Implications Of Persistent Toxic Substances In The Great Lakes And St. Lawrence Basin 
Heraline Hicks, Ph.d., Agency For Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

9:50 a.m.

Behavioral Changes in the Offspring of Humans and Laboratory Rats Who Consume Lake Ontario Fish: Possible Links to PCBs 
Paul Stewart, Ph.d., Center for Neurobehavioral Effects of Environmental Toxics

11:00 a.m. Break

11:15 a.m.

Effects of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin on Avian Brain Development 
Diane S. Henshel, Ph.d., Indiana University

11:45 a.m. Lunch

1:00 p.m.

Neurotoxicological Effects of Methylmercury And PCBs 
Deborah Rice, Ph.d., Health Canada

Effects of Persistent Toxic Substances on Fish and Wildlife

1:30 p.m.

Immunological and Physiological Effects of Persistent Toxic Substances
Keith Grasman, Ph.d., Wright State University

2:00 p.m.

Effect On Dioxin On Lake Trout 
Phil Cook, Ph.d., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

2:30 p.m. Break

2:45 p.m.

Examining the Effects of Persistent Toxic Substances on the Bald Eagle 
William Bowerman, Ph.d., Lake Superior State University

3:15 p.m.

Findings of a Wingspread Conference: A Challenge to Lakewide Management Plan Development 
Michael Gilbertson, International Joint Commission