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Environmental Stressors in Disease and Implications for Human Health

HEAL participated at the fourth PPTOX conference in Boston on prenatal programming and toxicity, looking at the fetal and early postnatal development origins of health and disease.

Known as ‘PPTOX’, this series of landmark conferences bring together researchers from a variety of fields and regulators to examine environmental hazards during early life and the long-term consequences for health. Although the main focus of the conferences is on chemical exposures that interfere with hormone action and thereby alter developmental programming leading to increased susceptibility to disease across the lifespan and generations, the conference deliberately promotes cross fertilisation of knowledge between researchers looking at chemical contaminants and researchers looking at the role of nutrition and stress in the etiology of non-communicable diseases.

The Endocrine Society co-sponsored this year’s conference, which continued gaining popularity, with over 300 attendees, 130 posters, and 60 presentations by experts worldwide. HEAL’s Senior Chemical Adviser Lisette van Vliet attended the Boston and prior PPTOX conferences in order to remain up to date on the science and inform researchers about how their science is being taken up in the EU policy realm.

These PPTOX conferences are important to help advance the cutting edge science in environmental health and the understanding of developmental origins of health and disease. Moreover, the conference participants and organisers are also committed to sharing their knowledge with policy circles, and in the past have issued significant conference declarations. The prior conference produced a noteworthy publication which stated that much more attention should be given to “early-life interventions, optimisation of nutrition, and reduction of toxic exposures to curtail the increasing prevalence of non-communicable disease (NCDs). More information here

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Last updated on 13 November 2014

About HEAL

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

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