Hello everyone!

Greetings from Belfast.

Last week myself, Melissa and Tobi (ESR’s 13, 1 & 4) had an opportunity to participate in Northern Ireland’s biggest agri-food event called “Balmoral Show”. The very first show was held in Belfast corporation markets on the banks of River Lagan on the 23rd and 24th August 1855. Since then the show gained popularity every year and is now held in Balmoral Park, Lisburn on an area of 65-acre, reserved just for the Show.

Due to its historical significance and massive public participation it was a big opportunity to showcase ProtectED project and share our work with general public. A place was reserved for ProtectED ITN within Queens University Belfast enclosure on 17th and 18th may, 2019.

After weeks of planning and preparing for the show we arrived at the EIKON exhibition centre early morning on Friday. People started to show up at the exhibition centre around 10am.

We came across different kinds of people at the event; some of them were well aware of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC’s) and a few didn’t have a clue. Our challenge as researchers was to interact and engage with such a wide range of public and communicate research in as simple language as possible. Since it was largely an agricultural event, we thought it would be interesting to show how EDC’s contaminate our food and animal feed and in turn have effects on human health. Oluwatobi kolawole (ESR 4) demonstrated a rapid test for presence of toxins in animal feed.

We also communicated with public about mixture effects of chemicals such as BPA, flame retardants, pesticides and phthalates in daily environment on adverse outcome pathways and simple steps that can help reduce the chemical exposure.

Kids were particularly interested in experiments with food dyes using skittles and smarties that provided them with hands on experience. All in all, we managed to reach out to the public and provide them with positive outlook on exciting work we are doing as a team under “ProtectED” and why it is important to understand and investigate cocktail effects of chemicals on our health.

A huge thanks to our project manager Katie Austin, who helped us manage everything and support us throughout the event. Until next time, here is team ProtectED signing off from the Balmoral show.


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