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8 January 2015

Peter Wardenbach in Memoriam (1945-2014)

Collegium Ramazzini Emeritus Fellow Dr. Peter Wardenbach peacefully passed away on November 29th, 2014 at the age of 69 at home, surrounded by his family. He leaves his wife Linda, 3 children and 3 grandchildren behind.

He was born September 27, 1945, North-Rhine-Westphalia/Germany. He studied Chemistry at the University of Bonn and graduated 1976 with a doctoral thesis in human genetics on Quantitative analysis of phenylalanine and tyrosine metabolites in urine as indicators of different genotypes of hyperphenylalaninaemia.
The German Chemical Act was in just preparation when Peter worked as Postdoc at the Institute of Human Genetics, Bonn University. In 1975 the German Research Council published a Memorandum on Toxicology. Because of the foreseeable need for qualified toxicologists, with chemical-legislation introduced, a postgraduate curriculum in toxicology was established at the University of Tubingen.
Peter applied for the course and was accepted with 16 other colleagues and started a new career in Toxicology. He studied in Tubingen and Munich and qualified as board certified toxicologist in 1980.
Most of his classmates then accepted jobs in companies, but Peter declined the offer to work for the chemical industry, but took an appointment at the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, based in Dortmund. Following the implementation of the Chemical Act Legislation July1980, the agency adopted the task to evaluate new chemicals and their risk to man and the environment.
Peter had the sought-after expert knowledge and skills in the field of toxicology and became head of the Toxicology Group of the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Professionally he committed himself to the central question if workers could be harmed by the use of new chemicals in the workplace - especially in the long-term. Later, an evaluation of "old" chemicals by the EU Existing Substances Regulation - a herculean task - complemented his regulatory responsibilities.
His interests included health-based occupational limit values, benchmark dose modelling, classification and labelling of carcinogenic/mutagenic/reproductive toxicants, especially hazard assessment of substitutes for asbestos, mineral fibers and long term effects of granular and fibrous particles in the occupational setting, limit values for particulate matter, impact assessment for substances that cause cancer, alter genes or may be teratogenic. With great commitment, passion and perseverance he fought for the case of occupational safety in national, European and international bodies. He was critical about non-scientific considerations being used to set TLV's being insufficient for health protection to workers. As a member of an international experts committee of the Health Council of the Netherlands he was involved in reassessment and recommendation of health-based OELs.
He criticized the revaluation by an IARC working group that insulation glass wool, continuous glass filament, rock (stone) wool and slag wool are not classifiable as to their carcinogenicity to humans (change from Group 2B to Group 3) and argued that the newer inhalation studies are not sufficiently supported by the published data. Having in mind the higher sensitivity of humans compared to rats after inhalation of asbestos, more emphasis should have been given to the carcinogenic response after intraperitoneal injection.
We remember him as a determined scientist for the cause of healthy working conditions. He was clear and incorruptible in the matter, independent in judgment, and uncomfortable for the industry lobby.
He was a regular attendee at Ramazzini Days in Carpi together with his wife Linda. He became Emeritus Fellow when he retired 4 years ago. Peter was a warm, strong character and wise man, taking a back seat in personal matters, but taking the front seat when it came to fighting for occupational safety.
Dr. Eleftheria Lehmann, the former director of the State Agency for Occupational Safety in North-Rhine-Westphalia in her funeral speech bid farewell: "his unsentimental sobriety and restraint seemed sometimes like a shield behind which a gracious, warm person sought shelter".

18 December 2014

Deaths of Emeritus Fellows Dr. Peter Wardenbach and Professor Dr. Friedrich Pott

Dear Fellows and Emeritus Fellows,
It is my sad duty to inform you of the recent deaths of two Emertius Fellows of the Collegium Ramazzini, Dr. Peter Wardenbach and Professor Dr. Friedrich Pott, both from Germany.
Prior to retirement, Dr. Wardenbach was the head of the Toxicology Group of the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. His interests included health based occupational limit values, classification and labelling of carcinogenic/mutagenic/reproductive toxicants and long term effects of granular and fibrous particles in the occupational setting. Born September 27, 1945, Peter passed away of lung cancer on November 29, 2014. He was a regular attendee at Ramazzini Days with his wife Linda.
Prof Dr. Friedrich Pott was Professor of Environmental Hygiene at the University of Duesseldorf before retiring. He was still publishing at the age of 72 with colleague Markus Roller and regularly submitted his work for poster presentation at Ramazzini Days even when he could no longer travel to meetings. Professor Pott was honoured with the Ramazzini award in 1991 for his contributions to the knowledge of carcinogenesis from natural and man-made fibers. Born May 25, 1931, Friedrich died December 11, 2014.
Detailed obituaries will be posted to the Collegium Ramazzini website shortly.

19 October 2014

Collegium Ramazzini Fellow Carol Cranor named Phi Beta Kappa's Romanell Professor in Philosophy for 2014-2015

Collegium Ramazzini Fellow Carl Cranor, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and faculty member of the Environmental Toxicology Graduate Program at the University of California, Riverside, is Phi Beta Kappa's Romanell Professor in Philosophy for 2014-2015.

The Romanell Professorship, awarded annually, recognizes the recipient's distinguished achievement and substantial contribution to the public understanding of philosophy. Phi Beta Kappa provides a stipend to supplement the awardee's salary, and the professor gives a series of three lectures open to both their institution's academic community and the general public.

Cranor's lecture series will be entitled "A Brief History of the Philosophic Relations between Science and Law to Protect the Public's Health".The three lectures will be titled Industrial Chemicals as Nuisances: The Rise of Environmental Health Laws and Their Limitations; Cancers, Brain Disorders, and the Feminization of Boys: Can We Avoid Poisoning Our Children?; and How Do Obscure Supreme Court Decisions Affect Me?

Cranor's most recent book is Legally Poisoned: How the Law Puts Us at Risk from Toxicants (Harvard University Press, 2011). Cranor has previously held American Council of Learned Societies (1980-81), Yale Law School (1980-1981) and American Philosophical Association Congressional (1985-86) fellowships, in addition to being an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1998) and the Collegium Ramazzini (2003).

About the Phi Beta Kappa Society
Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the United States' oldest academic honor society. It has chapters at 283 institutions and more than half a million members throughout the country. Its mission is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, to recognize academic excellence, and to foster freedom of thought and expression.

14 October 2014

Documentation related to Helsinki Criteria for Asbestos-Related Disease:

Collegium Ramazzini Fellow Jorma Rantenen has made available the following links:

1) Background Document

2) Short introduction of the background document

3) First SJWEH Consensus Report

4) Helsinki Declaration on ARDs 4

5) Organising Committee: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. Asbestos Diseases Research Institute; Sydney; 2013

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