CASCADE Open Forum gives food for thought
Everyone wants to know what their food contains. So too does the CASCADE Network of Excellence, which identifies and studies the chemicals in Europe's food and drinking water. Financed by the European Commission, the network brings together 24 research groups from 9 EU Member States. The focus has been on human health, in particular hormone disrupting effects. Some chemicals, both natural and manmade can interfere with the body's endocrine glands and the hormones they produce or the target tissues where the hormones act.
In recent years there has been growing concern regarding the large number of endocrine disrupting (ED) chemicals that can be found in the environment. These chemicals, even at low levels, may cause adverse health effects like cancer, behavioural problems and reproductive and developmental abnormalities. In response to this challenge, the CASCADE network has arranged a joint forum with other EU projects related to research on endocrine disruption. Together with representatives from the European Commission, regulatory authorities and industry, they aim to set a European agenda on how to tackle the increasing health threats caused by ED.
Spreading the word
The CASCADE Open Forum, which is free of charge, takes place on 2 October 2008, providing the European community and stakeholders with an open platform for debate and communication on the subject. Stakeholders include local authorities, government bodies, consumer organisations and the scientific community. The forum will present and profile Europe's leading research trends in the field and is an opportunity to discuss and influence the future of ED research and innovation in Europe.
Discussions about endocrine disruption will include the threat to health, an assessment of risks to hazards, and the present position of European research. New detection methods and models will be highlighted as will industry demands on method development, and global screening projects. The CASCADE open forum provides an opportunity to discover new trends in research, science policy and funding. Attendees will be able to network with leaders of the European ED science community as well as taking part in the debate on European science and technology.
The way ahead
The outcome of the Forum will be a strategic agenda for ED which clearly lays out the main areas of activity, including research education, testing and risk assessment. The research agenda will be presented to relevant authorities and organisations for further debate. CASCADE Open Forum is a joint activity, organised by eight leading EU-funded projects, including CASCADE, BIOCOP, CRESCENDO, ATHON, SME-R, Newgeneris CAESER and Reprotect.
The CASCADE network comprises a unique collaboration of researchers from different fields working together to integrate key areas of European research.
The network also coordinates an extensive training programme as well as disseminating relevant scientific information to consumers and to authorities for implementation of new scientific evidence into legislation concerning food safety. The goal of CASCADE is to provide new information on food-borne chemical residues and contaminants which interfere with hormone signalling, and use this information in the development of mechanism- and disease-based test methods and in risk assessment and benefit analysis.
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