The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Europe hosted 1,500 leading scientists from around the world at its 18th annual meeting in Warsaw, Poland, May 25-29. Its theme was “World Under Stress: Scientific and Applied Issues in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.”
The conference focused on ecotoxicology, environmental chemistry and risk assessment, as well as topics of interest to SETAC advisory groups: bioaccumulation, soils, life cycle assessment (LCA) and nanotechnology. SETAC President Derek Muir, SETAC Europe President Eamonn Farrelly, conference organizer Ryszard Laskowski and SETAC Global Executive Director Mike Mozur met with Polish Academy of Sciences President Michal Kleiber to discuss scientific developments in Poland and the region.
Ecotoxicology was the most prominent topic, addressing “emerging chemicals” such as human pharmaceuticals, nanoparticles and oxy-ionic metals, and such special environments as the Arctic and deep-sea regions. Presenters summarized recent developments in effects of chemical mixtures, including attempts to place mixture toxicity problems in real-world scenarios; time-related effects and toxicokinetics; tissue residue approaches, metal toxicity and bioavailability; and ecotoxicological test methods and biomarkers.
Environmental chemistry sessions covered “Fate and behaviour of organic micropollutants” and “Long-range transport of toxic compounds in mountains and polar areas." Three special sessions addressed environmental contamination and human health, along with the impact of climate change on the risks of chemicals in the environment. Presenters highlighted pesticides, pharmaceuticals, persistent organic pollutants and metals. Nanoparticles, organometallics, mycotoxins and phytoestrogens were also widely discussed. Sessions on the transformation of chemicals in the environment addressed the effects of soil carbon and climate-driven changes on properties of chemicals and the exposure of organisms.
Risk assessment highlights included predictive regulatory risk assessments related to genetically modified organisms, pesticides and biocides. Discussions explored ecological and landscape modeling approaches to data extrapolation in risk assessment. Development of such risk management solutions as Functional Tools for Pesticide Risk Assessment and Management (FOOTPRINT) was encouraged, and there was interest in stimulating a better appreciation of the agro-ecosystem environment and assessing pesticide impacts therein.
Life cycle assessment discussions highlighted carbon footprinting, underscored sustainability as an emerging fundamental LCA element and confirmed the need to integrate life cycle approaches into business and government decision- and policy-making. Principal open issues encompass data availability, choice of indicators, and integration and assessment of economic, social and environmental impacts. Convergence of methodologies was encouraged in order to reduce uncertainties and improve implementation of European Union regulations.
SETAC is a not-for-profit, worldwide professional society founded in 1979, consisting of individuals and institutions from an array of scientific fields, including environmental toxicology and chemistry, biology, ecology, earth sciences, atmospheric sciences, health sciences and environmental engineering. For more information on the Society, visit http://www.setac.org. Complete conference information is available at http://www.setac.eu/warsaw.
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