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Release: Oct. 2, 2001

UI to hold meeting on health issues surrounding concentrated animal feeding operations

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- An "Iowa Town Meeting" to discuss environmental and public health issues related to concentrated animal feeding operations will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16 at the Hotel Fort Des Moines in Des Moines.

Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) -- large agricultural operations where animals are kept and raised in confined situations -- have emerged as a top environmental health concern among rural residents in Iowa. The town meeting, co-sponsored by the University of Iowa Environmental Health Sciences Research Center (EHSRC) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), will provide a forum to discuss these concerns and present the most recent scientific information on the subject.

"We hope to bring together representative stakeholders in a climate of scientific and informed discussion of the environmental health issues that surround the growth of relatively large-scale concentrated animal feeding operations," said Peter S. Thorne, Ph.D., UI professor of occupational and environmental health and director of the EHSRC.

Topics to be discussed include the changing structure of agriculture; air, soil, and water quality; environmental contaminants; anti-microbial resistance; and toxic exposures. Kenneth Olden, Ph.D., director of the NIEHS, will participate in the meeting to learn about community concerns and to inform participants about the role of NIEHS in safeguarding environmental health. Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack has been invited to deliver the keynote address.

Stakeholders such as farm community members, livestock producers, farm organizations, environmental groups, members of the scientific community, governmental officials and legislators are invited to attend the meeting.

The meeting is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required by Nov. 1. Registration forms can be downloaded or completed online at Forms also can be obtained by contacting Robin Ungar at (319) 335-4541 and returned to her attention by fax at (319) 335-4225.

A conference summary will be published and distributed to community groups, farm organizations, the Iowa legislature, the NIEHS and other participants.