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26 February 2019

Death of Emeritus Fellow Stanislaw Tarkowski (21 January 2019)

Emeritus Fellow of the Collegium Ramazzini Stanislaw Tarkowski passed away on 21 January 2019.

Prof. Tarkowski had been a Fellow of the Collegium Ramazzini since October 2001. He was elected to Fellowship in recognition of his high scientific stature and authority and lifelong commitment to the public's health. He was a Fellow Emeritus of the Collegium Ramazzini from 2012 until the time of his death.
Professor Tarkowski served as a member of the scientific staff of the Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine in Lodz, Poland for nearly 60 years beginning in 1960. He received a Doctor of Science degree from the University of Lodz in 1967. In 1972, Professor Tarkowski was appointed as a head of the Toxicology Laboratory at the Nofer Institute and in 1973, head of the Institute's Department of Biochemistry. During the years 1973-1976 Prof. Tarkowski coordinated a project for the development of industrial toxicology within the Nofer Institute which was implemented in co-operation with UNDP and WHO through an agreement between UNDP and the Polish Government. In consequence of this project, modern laboratories for experimental toxicology, chemical analysis and epidemiology were established at the Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine and Prof. Tarkowski was appointed as Director of the Institute's Division of Industrial Toxicology.
During the 1970s, Prof. Tarkowski served the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a consultant and expert in the areas of toxicology and occupational health. In 1981, WHO invited Prof. Tarkowski to take a post as Scientific Advisor on Toxicology and Chemical Safety to the WHO European Regional Office and asked him to develop and co-ordinate implementation of a Toxicology and Chemical Safety Programme across the European Region. Since 1984, this Programme has also included a Workers' Health Programme.
In 1988, the Director General of WHO nominated Prof. Tarkowski to the post of Director of the Department of Environment and Health at the WHO Regional Office for Europe. This responsibility included development and implementation of the WHO programme in Europe concerning policy and strategy for prevention of health risks associated with environment pollution, occupational health hazards, promotion of health supporting environments, studies on environmental health risk, developing scientific health based criteria for prevention and control of environmental and occupational health hazards. On Prof. Tarkowski's initiative and with his active participation, WHO issued their first Report on Environment and Health in Europe, including a review of European occupational health services and air quality guidelines. He was also the initiator of the first European Conference of Ministers of Health and Environment in Frankfurt in 1989, which resulted in adoption of the European Charter on Environment and Health. From his initiative the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health and the European Committee for Environment and Health were established.
Following his retirement from WHO in 1996, Prof. Tarkowski resumed his work in the Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine in Lodz Poland where he was appointed Professor of the Institute and Head of the Department of Environmental Health Hazards. From 2004 he became a Professor at the School of Public Health of the Nofer Institute. In 2000, he was elected President of Polish Association of Public Health, and in 2007 he joined the Executive Board of European Public Health Association (EUPHA) as President-Elect. In 2009/2010, he served as President of the EUPHA and organized in his home town of Lodz, Poland an extremely successful European Public Health Conference. He was especially concerned about the need to strengthen the public health workforce to make it fit for the future. He had been arguing for over many years the importance of understanding the influences of the environment for health. In this respect, the European Public Health Conference in Lodz was an opportunity to look to the future and especially to anticipate the threat posed by climate change. Even after his retirement, Prof. Tarkowski continued to support the work of EUPHA until the time of his final illness.
Stan Tarkowski had a great passion for classical music and photography. He left a legacy of countless photographic images to let others know how he saw the world and how to remember.

18 February 2019

2019 Exposome Symposium of the University of Brescia on Emerging Science and Technology for Effective Prevention and Healthy Outcomes 20-21 May 2019

The Mount Sinai Institute for Exposomic Research and the University of Brescia are proud to present the 2019 Exposome Symposium. This symposium will be of interest to: researchers, clinicians, government, and health care workers, both new to the field and those already practicing exposomics.

The symposium will be held 20-21 May in Brescia, Italy. It is sponsored by the University of Brescia in collaboration with the Collegium Ramazzini, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and the Institute for Exposomic Research. The symposium aims to: introduce exposomics as a field; describe the challenges of generating high quality untargeted chemical assays, and; illustrate the use of computer science to generate novel exposure data, wearable devices, and other new methods. The participants will learn the strengths of including exposomics in human research and the challenges inherent to study design and statistical/bioinformatics analysis of exposomic data. The program and application procedure may be found online at www.sinaiexposomics.com.

12 November 2018

Death of Emeritus Fellow Marja Simonsuuri-Sorsa (28 August 1939 - 3 November 2018)

It is with deep sadness that we have to announce the death of Prof. Dr. Marja Simonsuuri-Sorsa. Marja Sorsa was born in 1939 and passed away on November 3, 2018.

Marja Sorsa was a geneticist who has dedicated her professional life to scientific research and public service in the field of occupational health. She was a worldwide highly respected authority in mutagenicity research and genetic toxicology, with special attention to detection of unknown carcinogenic agents in workplaces.
She has been a pioneer in drawing the attention to the ethical aspects of biomonitoring for workers and devoted herself to biomonitoring as part of preventive action in the only interest of worker protection, thereby opposing selection practices.
Dr. Marja Sorsa earned her MSc in genetics at the University of Helsinki in 1963 before continuing her graduate studies at the University of California at Berkeley. Following a visiting fellowship at the Max-Planck-Institut F. Biologie in Tubingen, Germany, Dr. Sorsa completed her PhD in genetics at the University of Helsinki in 1969. Thereafter she returned to the United States as a Fullbright Research Scholar in environmental toxicology at the University of California Davis.
She was Professor Emeritus of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) and was formerly Research Professor in genetic toxicology at the Academy of Finland.
Dr. Sorsa served as Director of the Department of Occupational Hygiene and Toxicology at FIOH and then as Director of the Ministry of Education for the Finish government before retiring in 2003.
Her high credibility and integrity as a scientist, combined with her moral commitment to the daily protection of workers' health, has always given weight to her active interventions. Her stamina in scientific fora has led to the adequate classification of carcinogenic substances despite opposition from industry. She had a pioneering role in increasing the credibility of genetic biomonitoring data as important elements in the international classification of substances as carcinogenic to humans.
Dr. Sorsa is a member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, Societas Scientiarum Fennica and of the Academia Europea and has been nominated Honorary Member of the Finnish Society of Toxicology. She was elected to the Collegium Ramazzini in 1985 and served on its Executive Council from 1996 to 2001.
Marja's life-long commitment to public service has influenced the thousands of students and employees who have passed through her classrooms and worked under her leadership at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and beyond.
She received the Ramazzini Award in 2010 for her scientific leadership in promoting the ethical aspects of occupational and environmental health research and practices.
In 2017, she has been awarded during the Science Days the 14th Bjorn Kurten Prize of the NORDENSKIOLD SOCIETY in Finland for her lifetime scientific work and her contribution to paleontological research. During her studies she found a piece of bones from Suomusjarvi, which she later handed over to the Finnish Natural History Museum. It was new paleontological finding of a fossil specimen of an elephant forfather Deinotherium sp., dated some 4-14 million years ago. In Finland this means a subtropical-tropical climate and two ice ages ago.
Prof Marja Sorsa has always been a lover of nature and of Finnish culture and at the same time a convinced world citizen. She also was a promotor and protector of women in science all over the world.

16 October 2018

New UN Declaration on Protecting Workers Against Tuberculosis

Dear Colleagues,
We would like to inform you about our success achieving inclusion of highly vulnerable workers and commitment on the use of occupational preventive measures into the UN Declaration on Tuberculosis. Our story is at http://www.icohweb.org/site/news-detail.asp?id=154#. ICOH and IOHA participated in the September 26, 2018 United Nations General Assembly Meeting on Tuberculosis (TB) in New York City and in the previous preparatory meetings. There the World Leaders endorsed the UN Political Declaration on TB "United to End Tuberculosis: An Urgent Global Response to a Global Epidemic".

We are happy to confirm that thanks to an intense year of effort by ICOH, IOHA, many of you, and other partners, our suggested language related to workers is successfully included in this endorsed Declaration. Click on the link just above to see Paragraph 17, which identifies "health care workers, miners and others exposed to silica" as high-risk vulnerable groups. Also see Paragraph 31, which says: "Commit to... implementing primary prevention in high-risk occupations by reducing silica dust exposures in mining, construction and other dusty workplaces, and worker tuberculosis surveillance and infection prevention and control in healthcare settings".
Marilyn Fingerhut (NIOSH), Perry Gottesfeld (Occupational Knowledge International), Sophie Kisting (NIOSH South Africa), and Gwen Brachman (ICOH) represented ICOH at the TB Meeting. Andrea Hiddinga, immediate past President International Occupational Hygiene Association, represented IOHA. Roberto Lucchini (Collegium Ramazzini) took part at the preparatory UN meetings.
Our next steps will include development of workplans to facilitate assistance to countries and organizations to implement workplace practices to reduce silica in workplaces and to protect health workers. These efforts will take place via the ICOH SC MinOSH TB-Silica Subcommittee, co-chaired by Marilyn and Perry, and via the SC OH Health Workers TB-Health Worker Subcommittee, co-chaired by Gwen and Sophie. We will be reaching out to ICOH SCs and members, IOHA, the (currently 65) organizations which endorsed the ICOH TB Statements, and to all of you. The Statements and endorsers are located at http://www.icohweb.org/site/ICOH-TB-Statements.asp. If your organization has not endorsed one or both TB Statements, please consider inviting endorsement. Instructions are at that website.
If you would like to join the TB-Silica Subcommittee, please contact Marilyn at mfingerhut1@aol.com. To join the HW-TB Subcommittee, please contact Gwen Brachman at gobmd@yahoo.com. If you have suggestions regarding how we could move forward, please also send them to Marilyn and/or Gwen.
Warm regards,
Roberto Lucchini on behalf of Marilyn, Perry, Gwen and Sophie

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