In Central and Eastern Europe, environmental pollution is widespread, resulting from the consequences of rapid industrialization during the Soviet Union era. In 1994 a diverse group of scientists and government representatives began meeting to address this problem. The meetings, which came to formally be known as the Central and Eastern European Conference on Health and the Environment (CEECHE), have been held periodically ever since.
The attendees include representatives of the governments of seven countries in the region, scientists from the United States and Western Europe, and representatives from international organizations. The meetings have been sponsored in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Superfund Research Program (SRP).
Now twenty-three years old, the network most recently focused on exchanging information to better define links between health and the environment and strategies to improve regional problems. The CEECHE provides a forum for researchers and engineers, as well as organizations with diverse professional expertise and backgrounds to jointly examine pressing environment and health issues, to engage in cooperative research, and to develop and disseminate innovative prevention strategies for addressing these issues.
Issues in the region raised by the CEECHE include heavy metal contamination, exposures from hazardous waste, and pollution caused by deficiencies in disposal of waste overall. Resulting research, much of it from grantees of the SRP, has developed more reliable biomarkers, improved understanding of the relationship between nutrition and chemical toxicity, developed improved methods of environmental data analysis, and developed remediation tools.
The participation of trainees and junior scientists, who share their data and engage broadly with the scientific community, has been critical to the CEECHE network and the resulting research.
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