2017 Meeting

1-5 PM October 16, 2017

Research Triangle Park, North Carolina

WASH-Toxics Symposium

International Society of Exposure Science Annual Conference, October 15-19, 2017

Toxic chemical water contaminants in low and middle income countries

Download the program booklet

Session I: A global grand challenge for the WASH development sector

In recent decades rates of toxic chemical production and diversification, particularly within the developing world, have outpaced other major drivers of global environmental change. As a result, environmentally ubiquitous chemical pollutants such as pesticide runoff, pharmaceutical and personal care product residues, industrial effluents, manufacturing additives, disinfection byproducts, and substances deriving from the breakdown of consumer wastes increasingly impact water sources and threaten public health around the world. To-date, the water-sanitation hygiene (WASH) development sector has focused on microbiological threats to human health, but increasingly evidence suggests that toxic chemical exposures are a major contributor to global burden of disease.

Presenters will define the global scale and scope of toxic chemical exposures from water in low and middle income countries (LMICs), and set an agenda for applied research on mitigation technologies that protect public health and the environment.


Emily Bernhardt (Duke) “Synthetic chemicals as agents of global change”

Anna Aceituno (RTI) “Shifting exposures, shifting paradigms: global trends warrant a focus on chemical contaminants in the WASH Sector”

Donna Womack (RTI) “Minimizing potential groundwater and surface water exposures associated with agricultural practices”

Session I of this two-part symposium will address the global scale and scope of toxic chemical exposures from water in LMICs, and identify priority individual chemicals/chemical classes and regional “hotspots.” Josh Kearns (NCSU) will make brief introductory remarks, “The mission and objectives of the WASH-Toxics Working Group.” The session will include the annual open meeting of the WASH-Toxics Working Group. The meeting will review accomplishments of the Working Group during 2017 and will conduct an interactive group exercise for agenda setting in 2018.


Session II: Analytics, risk analysis, and mitigation strategies

Toxic chemical water pollution is often more severe in developing countries compared to affluent regions as many substances are produced, used, and disposed of throughout the developing world in an unregulated manner. Furthermore, communities in low and middle income countries (LMICs) are limited in their resources to adequately address the health impacts from toxic pollution, which further marginalizes those most in need. Advancements are urgently needed in laboratory analytics, field sensing through biomonitoring, risk analysis, and practically feasible yet affordable mitigation strategies. The challenges and constraints of LMICs are different from affluent regions and require robust yet fieldable analytical methods as well as scalable interventions that utilize local materials and capacities for sustainability. This session (Part II of two) will present field and laboratory analytical capabilities, risk analysis approaches to evaluating chemical hazards, and mitigation strategies and technologies applied in resource constrained LMIC settings.


Jennifer Hoponick Redmon (RTI) “Using a risk-based approach to rank toxic chemicals in drinking water to support prioritization of risk mitigation strategies in low resource settings”

Keith Levine (RTI) “Cost-effective, scalable field and laboratory approaches for quantitation of established and emerging chemicals in the environment”

Meththika Vithanage (Institute for Fundamental Studies, Sri Lanka) “Municipal solid waste biochar for mitigation of carcinogenic VOCs in municipal-industrial landfill leachate”

Jamie DeWitt (ECU) “A potential never-ending story of chemical water pollution in LMICs: proliferation of legacy and replacement PFAS”

Matthew Bentley (CU-Boulder) “Activation of biochar adsorbents with base and ash leachates for the removal of organic micropollutants in low-cost water treatment”

To participate, register for the International Society of Exposure Science Annual Conference.