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EPA and DHS to Co-host Conference to Address High Priority Technical Challenges for Assessing Risk Exposure to Pathogens April 8-10, Bethesda, MD

Release Date: 04/03/2008
Contact Information: U.S. EPA - Melissa Anley-Mills, (202) 564-5179 / anley-mills.melissa@epa.gov ; DHS - John Verrico, (202) 254-2385 / john.verrico@dhs.gov

(Washington, D.C. – April 3, 2008) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are teaming up to hold a three-dayconference to address the real-world applications, technical challenges and solutions for conducting microbiological risk assessments.

Numerous federal agencies such as EPA, DHS, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) all have a stake in improving microbiological risk assessments (MRA) to better understand, reduce, recover from and prevent the risks from exposure to bacteria, viruses, and toxins from contaminated indoor and outdoor facilities, air, water and/or food.

    Increased risks of exposure to harmful microbiological agents could result from natural occurrences (such as hurricanes and earthquakes), human error (such as unsanitary food-processing), globalization which increases the spread of disease, or by intentional contamination (such as an act of bioterrorism). Credible tools to assess risks associated with exposure to pathogens are urgently needed, yet significant technical challenges need to be overcome in order to accomplish this goal.
      To advance research in MRA, EPA and DHS co-sponsored the academic Center of Excellence for Advancing Microbial Risk Assessment (CAMRA). At the upcoming conference, CAMRA and other noted experts will have an opportunity to discuss their research in MRA and to generate further discussion and collaboration in state-of-the-science, debate the technical challenges, share research, network and develop new partnerships for advancing the science, and address mission-driven applications for MRA.
        More information on the conference: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/events/#apr0808
        EPA’s National Homeland Security Research Center: http://www.epa.gov/nhsrc/
        Center for Advancing Microbial Risk Assessment (CAMRA): http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/outlinks.centers/center/158
        DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate: http://www.dhs.gov/scienceandtechnology

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