Bacon and Eggheads

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This flagship series brings together Parliamentarians with experts in science and engineering, showcasing outstanding Canadian research accomplishments. Its purpose is to provide unbiased insight into topical scientific issues, within a non-partisan forum. This prestigious forum represents a unique opportunity for scientists to communicate important findings to a distinguished and influential audience.

The series is organized by PAGSE, an umbrella group of 25 + science and engineering organizations operating under the auspices of the Royal Society, and is supported by NSERC.

From microwave popcorn bags to polar bears – tracking the path of fluoroalcohols through the global environment

Scott A. Mabury, University of Toronto

Fluoroalcohols, the basic industrial building blocks of many popular water and stain repellents, contribute significantly to the global burden of chemical pollution. The chemicals are widespread in the atmosphere, persistent enough to travel long distances, and their breakdown products are increasingly appearing in high concentrations in humans and in Arctic mammals. With one of these byproducts – perfluorooctanoic acid – recently identified as a "likely human carcinogen," the entire chemical family has become the focus of intense scientific and regulatory scrutiny.

Professor Scott A. Mabury tracks the source of these materials and their chemical pathways through the environment and our bodies. He is also a leader in proposing ways to modify the chemicals to prevent their unintended spreading, and the negative health effects that might result. Steps to solve the contamination problem while preserving these useful materials for commerce may include removing residual chemical impurities from products, shortening the "tails" of the polymers, and strengthening the chemical bonds that hold the polymers together.

Dr. Mabury is a Professor of Environmental Chemistry and Chair of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto. He and his research group have garnered significant national and international attention for work on fluorinated pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and industrial compounds. He has also won multiple teaching awards.

Organized by: The Partnership Group for Science and Engineering (PAGSE)

Sponsored by:

--the Speaker of the Senate
--the Speaker of the House of Commons
--Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)

Date: Thursday, September 28, 2006 from 7:30 am - 9:00 am
Place: Room 200, West Block, Parliament Hill
Cost: No charge to Members of the House of Commons, Senators and Media. All others $10
Registration: Please register by contacting Donna Boag, PAGSE Coordinator: 613-991-6369,
Registration Deadline: September 25th