Members of the ELEVATE, SAFER and WAFER research teams pictured attending the Centre for One Health (COH) ‘Toxic Organic Contaminants in Our Environment' on September 20th 2019: Back row ( left to right) Dr Harald Berresheim ( NUIG), Dr Liam Morrison (NUIG), Prof. Stuart Harrod ( University of Birmingham), Prof. Martin Cormican (NUIG), Front row ( left to right) Dr Martin Sharkey (NUIG), Dr Marie Coggins (NUIG), Prof. Cynthia de Wit (Stockholm University), Dr. Nina Wemken (NUIG), Prof. Michael Hynes (NUIG)

The Ryan Institute Centre for One Health (COH) hosted their second Annual Conference ‘Toxic Organic Contaminants in Our Environment' on September 20th 2019 in the O’Donoghue Centre at NUI Galway.
The objective of the conference was to promote awareness of issues relating to the presence of toxic organic contaminants within the Irish environment. The conference brought together relevant stakeholders in Irish industry and policy-making sectors with researchers actively investigating the sources, pathways and impacts of toxic organic contaminants on the Irish environment.
The conference, which was funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, and showcased research taking place at NUIG and internationally and featured expert talks from leaders in the field across 3 thematic sessions:

  • International and Policy Perspectives
  • Contamination of the environment and human exposure
  • Implications for waste management

Chair of the organising committee Dr Marie Coggins (Lecturer in Exposure Science, School of Physics NUIG and member of the Ryan Institutes Centre for One Health) invited Prof Martin Cormican (HSE National Lead Healthcare Associated Infection and AMR) to open the conference, Prof. Cormican welcomed delegates and outlined the strength of the teaching and research ongoing in the University in the field of ‘Toxic organic contaminants in our environment’.


 Prof. Stuart Harrad from the University of Birmingham, a world-leading expert on the environmental fate and behaviour of persistent organic pollutants, and project coordinator for EPA-WAFER, EPA- ELEVATE and EPA-FUEL introduced conference keynote speakers including Prof. Cynthia De Wit, Stockholm University, Prof. Michael Hynes, NUI Galway and Dr Joseph Hannon Food Safety Authority of Ireland.


NUIG School of Physics Postdoctoral researcher Dr Nina Wemken and Lecturer Dr Marie Coggins who both worked on EPA-ELEVATE, presented data on brominated flame retardants in indoor air and dust from Irish microenvironments and results from an Irish Human Biomonitoring study on BFRs in human breast milk. Another members of the Centre for One Health, Dr Liam Morrison presented recent research on removal of silver nanoparticles.


NUIG School of Physics Postdoctoral researcher Dr Martin Sharkey and Senior Lecturer Dr Harold Berresheim who both worked on EPA-WAFER and EPA- SAFER projects , presented data on brominated flame retardants in BFRs in landfill leachate. Prof. Stuart Harrad discussed opportunities for using a hand-held XRF detector as a method of screening BFRs in waste to check compliance with legislative limits. Another member of the Centre for One Health, Dr Alma Siggins presented on her research on treatment options using pyrolysed waste to treat environmental trichloroethylene contamination.

A wide range of ongoing One Health research was presented during poster sessions, for more details please see the CHE One Health Conference Programme and Book of Abstracts.

With the success of this conference the Centre for One Health plans to continue to hold an annual event to promote the connection between health and the environment.

 Presentations from our expert speakers are now available to download by clicking on their names in the programme below!

Centre for One Health Conference Programme 2019


10:15 – 10:55    Prof. Cynthia De WitStockholm University: International perspectives on persistent organic pollutants: Exposure and effects

10:55 – 11:20    Prof. Michael Hynes, NUI Galway/REACH:  Interactions between ECHA and the EU POP Regulation

 11:20 – 11:45   Dr. Joseph Hannon, FSAI: Current regulatory status of persistent organic pollutants in food in Ireland and future developments


13:15 – 13:35     Dr. Catherine Allen, DCU: Phthalates in The Environment- An Irish Perspective

13:35 – 13:55     Nina Wemken, NUIG: Brominated flame retardants in indoor dust/air

13:55 – 14:15     Dr. Marie Coggins, NUIG: Brominated flame retardants in human breast milk

14:15– 14:35      Dr. Colmán Ó Ríordáin, The State Laboratory: Dioxins and furans in  human breast milk

14:35 – 14:55     Dr. Liam Morrison, NUIG:The Removal of Silver Nanoparticles  from Aqueous Samples Using Milled Activated Charcoal


15:30 – 15:50     Prof. Stuart Harrad, UoB: Is hand-held XRF a viable option for screening compliance with legislative limits on BFRs in waste?

15:50 – 16:10     Dr. Martin Sharkey, NUIG: Brominated flame retardants in landfill leachate - levels and tends in Irish waste

16:10 – 16:30     Dr. Alma Siggins, NUIG: Use of pyrolysed waste to treat environmental trichloroethylene contamination

This conference was supported by the Environmental Protection Agency

EPA Research logo