? ? The symposium on Heavy metal exposures in women and children, the role of nutrients, will be held at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC on April 30th, 2007. Heavy metals adversely affect health outcomes in adults and children. With millions of individuals worldwide at risk exposed to heavy metals, a great deal of effort is focused on understanding the health effects and mechanisms of metal toxicity. Heavy metal exposures do not occur in isolation, however; affected individuals also experience other risk factors for poor health, including malnutrition. The potential for overlap in exposure to heavy metals and nutritional deficiencies is high, with additive or multiplicative effects on health outcomes, especially in women and children. Despite this overlap, interdisciplinary research and exchange of ideas among toxicologists and nutritionists has been fairly limited. Important developments are being made in the two fields, and they necessitate interdisciplinary approaches to this common problem. Thus, there is a need to create opportunities for nutritionists and toxicologists to communicate their findings and exchange ideas. The goal of the symposium is to bring together experts on heavy metal toxicity with nutrition researchers at the premier meeting for nutritional science, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, to foster an exchange of information and a cross-fertilization of ideas.
The aim i s for scientists conducting research that intersects the fields of toxicology and nutrition to present their findings to a nutrition audience, to increase awareness and understanding of the health effects of heavy metal exposures in women in children, and to explore the role of nutrients in preventing or alleviating heavy metal toxicity. The symposium is timely as heavy metal exposures are increasing worldwide, as malnutrition is endemic in some areas of the world, and as interactions between toxic metals, essential nutrients, and genes are being discovered. There is an urgent need to engage nutritionists and toxicologists in identifying collaborative approaches for addressing these overlapping exposures in vulnerable populations. The symposium will result in proceedings published in the Journal of Nutrition, one of the most widely read nutrition publications. ? ? ? ?