Toxic chemicals café topic

BAR HARBOR — Joseph R. Shaw, an associate professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, will talk about “Mapping the Chemosphere,” an initiative to gain greater insight into the worldwide health threat posed by manufactured chemicals, at an MDI Science Café at the MDI Biological Laboratory on Monday, July 10, from 5-6 p.m.

Toxic chemicals are a major contributor to human and environmental health problems, but there is a lack of basic information needed to protect human health and the environment from harmful pollutants.

Instead of addressing chemical threats as they arise, the initiative embraces 21st-century technologies to proactively reveal which chemicals are prevalent in our environments, how we are exposed to them and how they affect our health. Shaw is project leader of the international collaborative project.

“Current approaches resemble a game of chance whose outcome can leave us guessing whether chemicals are safe or not,” Shaw said.

Shaw is a director of the MDI Biological Laboratory’s Environmental Genomics course, the first in the world to offer practical training in this emerging multidisciplinary specialty, which seeks to identify the genes and regulatory patterns that allow some organisms to quickly adapt to rapid environmental changes.

MDI Science Cafés are offered in fulfillment of the institution’s mission to promote scientific literacy and increase public engagement with science. The events offer a chance to hear directly from speakers about trends in science. Short presentations delivered in everyday language are followed by lively, informal discussion. The cafés are sponsored by Bar Harbor Bank & Trust and Cross Insurance. Refreshments will be served. Call 288-3147.

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