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26 February 2015

In Memorium: Collegium Ramazzini Emeritus Fellow and Past President Arthur C. Upton (1923-2015)

Emeritus Fellow and Past President of the Collegium Ramazzini Dr. Arthur Canfield Upton passed away on 14 February 2015. Dr. Upton was internationally recognized for his research on the health effects of ionizing radiation and other hazardous environmental agents. Born on February 27, 1923, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he spent his childhood, he graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover, MA, and, subsequently, from the University of Michigan, from which he received both the bachelor's and medical degrees (1944 and 1946 respectively).

Following his internship in medicine and residency in pathology at the University of Michigan, he entered the field of experimental pathology, serving successively as Chief of the Pathology-Physiology Section of the Biology Division of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (1954-1969), Professor of Pathology, State University of New York at Stony Brook (1969-1977), Dean, School of Basic Health Sciences, State University of New York at Stony Brook (1970-1975), Director, National Cancer Institute (1977-1980), Professor of Environmental Medicine and Director of the Institute of Environmental Medicine, New York University School of Medicine (1980-1992), Clinical Professor of Pathology and Radiology, University of New Mexico School of Medicine (1992-1995), and Clinical Professor of Environmental and Community Medicine, The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey- Robert wood Johnson Medical school (1995-).

In the course of his career, Dr. Upton published nearly 400 articles, books, and technical reports on the health effects of ionizing radiation and other hazardous environmental agents, and he held leadership positions on the principal national and international professional organizations concerned with the prevention and medical management of such effects, serving as President of the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Society for Experimental Pathology, the Radiation Research Society, and the International Association for Radiation Research. He was a founding member of the Collegium Ramazzini and served as its President from 1992-2002.

In recognition of his contributions, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and received many other honors, including the E.O. Lawrence Award, the Lovelace Medical Foundation Award for Excellence in Environmental Research, Honorary Membership in the Peruvian Oncology Society, the Japanese Cancer Association, the New York Academy of Sciences, and the American Registry of Pathology, and the Distinguished Achievement Award of the Society for Risk Analysis

Dr. Upton is survived by his wife, three children, nine grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

23 February 2015

In Memorium: Collegium Ramazzini Fellow Maths Berlin (1932-2015)

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Collegium Ramazzini Fellow, Professor emeritus MD, PhD Maths Berlin on January 26, 2015 at the age of 83.

Maths Berlin presented his doctoral thesis on mercury toxicology in 1963 at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm. He was an Associate professor and deputy head of the department of Environmental health at the National Institute of Public Health 1963-1967. During this time, he also spent a year as a visiting professor at the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY, USA. In1967 he was appointed as a full professor of environmental medicine and chairman of the Department of Environmental Hygiene at the University of Lund in Lund Sweden. His doctoral thesis and his subsequent experimental research was pioneering in introducing a scientific approach to understanding metal metabolism. Important fundamental toxicological differences among various chemical forms of mercury were demonstrated. This information has been of great importance within metal toxicology and human health risk assessment. In Lund his research in environmental medicine also included research on benzene and sleep disturbances from noise in addition to his experimental research on mercury. Maths Berlin was engaged and instrumental in getting WHO approval for the epidemiological studies on prenatal exposures to methyl mercury from fish consumption in the Seychelles. This research has been performed mainly by the University of Rochester team of scientists and continues to this day. Even in the last year of his life, Maths Berlin was actively performing research on another aspect of mercury toxicology namely the immunological effects in humans of mercury released in dental practice.

Maths Berlin was on leave from Lund University from 1983-88 when he worked for the World Health Organization (WHO) at the MARC Monitoring and Assessment Centre, University of London, UK. He served as chairman or member of a number of WHO criteria documents on metals during this period.

Maths Berlin participated in a number of international workshops organized by WHO and/or the Scientific Committee on the toxicology of metals, ICOH, where research results were summarized and consensus conclusions were published as books and reports. These reports have had a major influence on the development of risk assessment methods in occupational and environmental medicine and public health. In the last year of his life Maths Berlin completed the new chapter on Mercury for the 4th edition of the Handbook on the Toxicology of Metals, published 2015.

Maths Berlin belonged to the first Fellows invited by Irving Selikoff and Cesare Maltoni to form the Collegium Ramazzini in 1983. During more than 25 years he attended more annual meetings than most other Fellows and generally did so with his wife Margaretha. He always took an active part in the discussions of the Council and in the Scientific meetings with his explicit and well founded opinions.

Several Ramazzini colleagues were his close friends and some collaborated with him scientifically and in risk assessment. We will remember him as a great scientist and a reliable and good friend. Maths was also a great sports enthusiast, golf in the summer and curling in the winter were his favorites. We extend our deepest sympathy to his family and the wide network of colleagues who held him in such high regard.

Anders Englund and Gunnar Nordberg
Fellows of the Collegium Ramazzini

15 February 2015

The Collegium Ramazzini joins with IARC and agrees that most types of cancer are not due to "bad luck"

The Collegium fully endorses the International Agency for Research on Cancer's (IARC) criticism of a report by Tomasetti and Vogelstein published in Science January 2, 2015, that asserts that environmental and lifestyle risk factors are of marginal importance (accounting for less than one third of cancers) and that cancer development is largely the result of "bad luck". Especially troubling about these authors' assertions, is the implied threat to primary prevention efforts, now seemingly deemed to be irrelevant, if "bad luck" is the operative driver of cancer cases. Such a notion is also vigorously disputed by the Collegium Ramazzini.

The full IARC statement may be consulted here:

The Tomasetti and Vogelstein article may be found here:

28 Januuary 2015

Save the Date > Ramazzini Days 2015 > October 22-25

Please mark your calendars now for a special 3-day edition of Ramazzini Days, to be held in Carpi, Italy beginning at 15:00 on Thursday 22 October through 15:00 on Sunday 25 October 2015. This is the 10-year anniversary of the Collegium's "Living in a Chemical World" conference series and we will be celebrating by adding an additional day of scientific sessions to the annual meeting.
Ground transportation will be provided from the Bologna International Airport (BLQ) and from the historical center of Bologna on the morning of Thursday 22 October. Wednesday arrivals are invited to arrange accommodations in Bologna so as to use the conference transportation from the city center the following day.
Return travel should be planned for the afternoon of Sunday 25 October or Monday 26 October. Return ground transportation will be organized on both days from Carpi to BLQ and to the historical center of Bologna.
Train travellers should plan on booking a connection all the way to Carpi (trains run from Modena centrale every 30 minutes). No transportation will be provided from the Bologna or Modena train stations.
Online registration for the event will open in July.

Questions? Comments! Mail to: events@ramazzini.it