One Environment. One Health. Sustainable Societies.
The SETAC Europe Annual Meeting in 2019 in Helsinki will be the number one meeting place where scientists from various disciplines and sectors (Academia, Business, Government and NGOs) will find new opportunities to present, to debate and disseminate the most recent scientific knowledge, developments and applications for:
- Reducing and regulating the use of chemicals in the environment,
- Remediating soil, air and water pollution,
- Proposing the use of more sustainable chemicals.
Many areas in the world are affected by pollution due to long-range transport of contaminants causing health hazards to local ecosystems, including indigenous human populations of the north. This underlines the fact that chemical pollution and its effects are indeed global, while new approaches for the management and counteractions have to be tailored for the specific environments in question.
The backbone of this meeting is the recognition that environmental protection plays an important role in public health, and to contribute to our global goal of creating sustainable future societies. The scientific programme consists of 106 parallel sessions categorized in 7 tracks. Have a look at the session descriptions and select a topic before submitting your abstract.”
Adverse effects of chemicals on host-associated and free-living microbiomes (Ondrej Adamovsky, Marie Simonin, Joseph H Bisesi, Fabrice Martin-Laurent) – description
Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing for Ecotoxicity Assessments: Exploring New And Novel Approaches (Co-chairs: Teresa J Norberg-King, Adam Lillicrap, Marta Sobanska, Scott E. Belanger) – description
Benefits of BiER: How Biotransformation and Elimination Rate related science can improve the regulation and the sustainable use of chemicals (Co-chairs: Michelle Rau Embry, Ester Papa, Jon A. Arnot) – description
Bridging the gap: Maximizing the role of mechanistic approaches (including omics) for better chemical safety decisions across humans and ecosystems (Co-chairs: Bruno Campos, Helena Cristina Silva de Assis, Anze Zupanic, Paul Jennings) – description
Can we demystify machine learning for environmental chemistry and (environmental) toxicology? (Co-chairs: Francesca Grisoni, Marco Vighi) – description
Ecotoxicology of nanoplastics: Mechanistic approaches to understand their risk for the environment and human health (Co-chairs: Miguel Gonzalez Pleiter, Gerardo Pulido-Reyes, Francisca Fernandez-Piñas, Roberto Rosal) – description
Endocrine Disruption in Invertebrates: Historical Perspectives, New Developments, and Key Research Needs (Co-chairs: Alex Ford, Alice Baynes) – description
Epigenetic and evolutionary effects of environmental stressors on environmental and human health (Co-chairs: Jana Asselman, Benjamin Pina, Marie-Agnes Coutellec, Eduarda M Santos) – description
Fish model species in human and environmental toxicology (Co-chairs: Jessica Legradi, Jorke Kamstra, Riccardo Massei) – description
Novel developments in testing chemicals for endocrine disrupting properties (Co-chairs: Lisa Annie Baumann, Dries Knapen, Sharon Munn, Lennart Weltje) – description
Recent Proceedings on Bioaccumulation in Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecotoxicology (Co-chairs: Stefan Kimmel) – description
Wildlife ecotoxicology: from sub-lethal responses to adverse effects at individual and population level (Co-chairs: Nico van den Brink, John E. Elliott) – description
4D-risk assessment (Co-chairs: Ivo Roessink, Thomas Preuss, Alessio Ippolito) – description
Aquatic and terrestrial plant ecology: ecotoxicology, risk assessment and modelling (Co-chairs: Joanna Davies, Udo Hommen, Silvia Mohr) – description
Bees, bugs and beneficials in environmental risk assessment and testing (Co-chairs: Ivo Roessink, Nicole Hanewald, Jacoba Wassenberg, Stefan Kimmel) – description
Climate impacts on polar and alpine ecotoxicology and environmental chemistry (Co-chairs: Igor Eulaers, Ana Cabrerizo, Tomasz Ciesielski, Katrine Borga) – description
Cross-ecosystem effects of chemical pollutants (Co-chairs: Mirco Bundschuh, Francis J. Burdon, Jochen P. Zubrod) – description
Developing the field of trophic ecotoxicology (Co-chairs: Clémentine Fritsch, Michael Danger, M. Glória Pereira) – description
Effects of multiple stressors in birds and mammals: field and experimental approaches (Co-chairs: Veerle Jaspers, Kim J. Fernie, Bjorn Munro Jenssen) – description
Environmental risk assessment of amphibians and reptiles: advancing knowledge and reducing uncertainty (Co-chairs: Manuel Ortiz Santaliestra, Silvia Pieper) – description
Examining behavioural effects of chemical contaminants and other stressors on behaviour, ecology and evolution of wildlife (Co-chairs: Minna Saaristo, Bryan W. Brooks, Alex Ford, Tomas Brodin) – description
Incorporating ecosystem functioning into environmental quality assessment (Co-chairs: Milo de Baat, Michiel Kraak, Cornellius van Gestel, Mirco Bundschuh) – description
Individual variation in ecotoxicological research: a change from unwanted noise to a meaningful endpoint (Co-chairs: Mikko Juhani Nikinmaa) – description
Soil quality in agricultural landscapes: Ecotoxicological tools and concepts for a retrospective environmental risk assessment (Co-chairs: Bettina Hitzfeld, Benoît J.D. Ferrari, Janine Wong, Claudia Lima) – description
Understanding the complexity of the natural aquatic environment facing global changes (Co-chairs: Ana Marta Gonçalves, Nelson Abrantes, Isabel Campos) – description
Bioaccumulation of manufactured nanomaterials in aquatic and terrestrial organisms (Co-chairs: Christian Schlechtriem, Doris Volker, Sebastian Kühr) – description
Biogeochemistry and fate of organic pollutants in aquatic systems (Co-chairs: maria vila-costa, Rainer Lohmann) – description
Chemicals in Plastics and Synthetic Rubbers: Quo Vadimus? (Co-chairs: Zhanyun Wang, Dorte Herzke) – description
Complex mixtures in the environment: Monitoring, fingerprinting and assessment (Co-chairs: Werner Brack, Emma Schymanski, Henner Hollert, Jaroslav Slobodnik) – description
Disinfection byproducts and oxidation byproducts: Analysis, fate, toxicity and treatment (Co-chairs: Tarek Manasfi, Jean-Luc Boudenne) – description
Ecological impact and management of dumped munition sites (Co-chairs: Jacek Bełdowski, Kari K. Lehtonen) – description
Environmental Monitoring and Risk Assessment of UV filters in Aquatic Environments (Co-chairs: Carys Louise Mitchelmore, Iain Davies) – description
Linking models, experiments and measurements to reliably investigate the environmental fate and effects of hydrophobic organic contaminants and mixtures (Co-chairs: Sven Seidensticker, Philipp Mayer, Felix Stibany, Rainer Lohmann) – description
Mass spectrometry screening strategies for evaluation of human and environmental exposures: Where are we going and what have we learned? (Co-chairs: Bozo Zonja, Jonathan W. Martin, Yong-Lai Feng, Karin Wiberg) – description
Mercury biogeochemistry and global environmental change (Co-chairs: Severine Le Faucheur, Michael S Bank) – description
Micro(Nano)plastics Pollution: Sources, Occurrence, Fate and Determination Methods (Co-chairs: Miguel Oliveira, James Cizdziel, Amy Lusher, Mohamed Banni) – description
Modelling and monitoring of pesticides fate and exposure in a regulatory context (Co-chairs: Bernhard Gottesbueren, Jenny Kreuger, Michael Stemmer) – description
Multi-pathway exposure to neonicotinoids and the implications to ecological and public health (Co-chairs: Chensheng Lu, Quan Zhang) – description
New developments in the science of vPvB and PBT assessment (Co-chairs: Stefan Hahn, Jacques Lharidon, Frank Gobas, Henriette Selck) – description
New insights into chemical exposures over multiple spatial and temporal scales (Co-chairs: Alistair Boxall, Charlotte Wagner, Rainer Lohmann, Jason Snape) – description
Organic Micropollutants in Urban Waters (Co-chairs: Kai Bester, Juliane Hollender, Karin Wiberg, Ulla Bollmann) – description
Passive sampling-based bioavailability measurements to characterize the fate and effects of chemicals in solid matrices (Co-chairs: John Parsons, Karina Knudsmark Sjøholm, Melis Muz, Steven Droge) – description
PMT Substances in the Aquatic Environment: Scientific, Analytical and Regulatory Issues (Co-chairs: Michael Neumann, Hans Peter Arp) – description
Recent approaches in establishing linkages between exposure science and the environmental effects of trace organic contaminants (Co-chairs: Maricor Jane Arlos, Juliane Hollender, Beate Escher) – description
Something in the air: are airborne microplastics a novel environmental health issue? (Co-chairs: Stephanie Wright, Johnny Gasperi) – description
State of the science on emerging and novel poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) (Co-chairs: Zhanyun Wang, Ian Cousins) – description
The environment as a reactor determining fate and toxicity of nanomaterials (Co-chairs: Susana Loureiro, Cornellius van Gestel, Iseult Lynch, Claus Svendsen) – description
The indoor environment: emerging contaminant identification, analysis and quantification for exposure assessment (Co-chairs: Margaretha Lamoree, Jon A. Arnot, Pim Leonards) – description
The overlooked hazard of small creeks – elucidating the input and fate of organic (micro-)pollutants in streams (Co-chairs: Christiane Zarfl, Marc Schwientek, Beate Escher, Christian Zwiener) – description
Towards a sustainable development of river-sea systems (RSS) and coastal areas (Co-chairs: Marinella Farre, Ernst Erhard Manuel Nicolaus, Josep Sanchís, Davide A.L. Vignati) – description
Trace Metal Biogeochemistry in Coastal and Estuarine Ecosystems (Co-chairs: Nelson J O’Driscoll, Sara Klapstein, Erin R. Bennett) – description
Advances in Soil Ecotoxicology and Risk assessment – Impact, Ecotoxicity tests, Monitoring and Risk assessment of soil stressors (Co-chairs: Mark Maboeta, Bettina Hitzfeld, Juliska Princz, Silvia Pieper) – description
Applications of Bayesian network models for environmental risk assessment and management (Co-chairs: Jannicke Moe, Wayne G. Landis, David Barton) – description
Approaches and criteria for identifying chemicals of greatest concern – Current and novel risk-based methods for legacy chemicals to emerging contaminants (Co-chairs: Paul C. DeLeo, Bruno Hubesch, Mark A. Bonnell, Todd Gouin) – description
Biomonitoring of Heavy Metal Atmospheric Pollution using Trees and Plants (Co-chairs: Marc Beutel, Valentina Rimondi, Pilario Costagliola) – description
Can regulatory risk assessment protect wildlife? (Co-chairs: Rachel Sharp, Jan-Dieter Ludwigs, Emily McVey) – description
Contaminated sediments: an understudied environmental compartment (Co-chairs: Michiel Kraak, Nienke Wieringa, Henriette Selck, Paul K. Sibley) – description
Difficult to test substances: challenges in testing, interpretation of data and fulfilling information requirements under different regulations (Co-chairs: Simon Gutierrez, Lennart Weltje, James R. Wheeler, Stefania Barmaz) – description
Ecotoxicology of wastes: regulatory situation and testing experiences (Co-chairs: Reinhilde Weltens, Jörg Römbke) – description
Effect modelling for regulatory risk assessment: current applications and future directions (Co-chairs: Andreas Focks, Thomas Preuss, Anna-Maija Nyman) – description
Fate and Effects of Metals: advances in metals risk assessment and regulatory guidance (Co-chairs: Stijn Baken, Charlotte Nys, Bill A. Stubblefield, Matti T Leppanen) – description
How to achieve good quality of surface water and sediments for pesticides and which further regulations and mitigation strategies are needed? (Co-chairs: Katja Knauer, Marion Junghans) – description
Human health and environmental risk assessment of chemical mixtures: moving towards the non-toxic environment (Co-chairs: Thomas Backhaus, Rolf Altenburger) – description
Human health risk assessment of the environmental development and transfer of antibiotic resistance (Co-chairs: Alistair Boxall, Judi L. Durda) – description
Innovations in Biological Strategies for remediation of contaminated environments (Co-chairs: Anna Barra Caracciolo, José Julio Ortega-Calvo) – description
Recent developments in the use of biosensors for chemical and environmental risk assessment (Co-chairs: Roberta Carafa, Marta Schuhmacher) – description
Remediation of soils and methods for evaluating the biological activity of humic products (Co-chairs: Vera Terekhova, Kamila Kydralieva, Anna Sergeevna Sachkova, Elena Vasil’evna Fedoseeva) – description
Scientific advancements towards risk assessments, their frameworks and the implementation of alternative strategies to animal testing for nanomaterials (Co-chairs: Kai Paul, Damien Carson, Teresa F Fernandes, Claus Svendsen) – description
State-of-the-art approaches, latest developments and future needs in regulatory risk assessment of biocides and veterinary medicines (Co-chairs: Jaana Laitinen, Anja Kehrer, Ricardo Carapeto García, Fabienne Ericher) – description
Statistical Science and Ecotoxicology: Bright Lines and Dark Alley Ways (Co-chairs: David Fox, Ross Smith, Wayne G. Landis) – description
The fate, effects, and mitigation of oil spills on aquatic and marine environments (Co-chairs: Kirsten S. Jørgensen, Diane M Orihel, Thomas-Benjamin Seiler, Jules M. Blais) – description
Tire wear particles – environmental presence, fate and effects (Co-chairs: Farhan Khan, Louise Lynn Halle, Annemette Palmqvist) – description
Towards a science-based risk assessment framework for nano- and microplastic (Co-chairs: Albert Koelmans, Merel Kooi, Todd Gouin) – description
Toxicological Considerations from Unconventional Methods of Resource Developments (Co-chairs: Mandy L Olsgard, Tamzin Blewett, Erik Folkerts, Gregory G. Pyle) – description
Wastewater effluents: How research can improve risk assessment and regulation (Co-chairs: Dean Leverett, Mirco Bundschuh, Mathijs G.D. Smit) – description
Bio-based industries: sustainability benefits from circularity and closed-loop life cycles (Co-chairs: Neus Escobar, Matthias Finkbeiner, Daniel Garrain, Diego Marazza) – description
Contribution of LCA to take knowledgeable measures to reduce (micro) plastic pollution (Co-chairs: Guy Castelan, Thomas Kägi, Gregor Wernet) – description
Dissipative use of natural resources in LCA : metals, minerals and plastics (marine litter) (Co-chairs: Guido Sonnemann, Philippe Loubet) – description
Environmental footprints of wood and wood based product (Co-chairs: Tarmo Räty, Lauri Linkosalmi, Lars G. F. Tellnes) – description
Ex-ante Life Cycle Assessment of Emerging Technologies (Co-chairs: Stefano Cucurachi, Jeroen Guinee) – description
LCA and beyond – challenges in tools and interpretation to improve decision support (Co-chairs: Roland Hischier, Nicole Unger, Carla Caldeira, Yan Dong) – description
LCA applications and critical methodological developments for sustainable nutrition (Co-chairs: Sirpa Kurppa, Thomas Nemecek) – description
Life Cycle Impact Assessment (Co-chairs: Heinz Stichnothe, Roland Hischier, Alexis Laurent) – description
Measuring the Sustainability of Circular Economies: the potential of LCA (Co-chairs: Carla Caldeira, Heinz Stichnothe, Chris Bayliss, Alessandra Zamagni) – description
New Achievements on Social Life Cycle Assessment and Social Organizational Life cycle assessment (Co-chairs: Marzia Traverso, Matthias Finkbeiner, Elisabeth Ekene) – description
New frontiers in Life Cycle Inventory data collection and modelling (Co-chairs: Roland Hischier, Michele De Rosa, Heinz Stichnothe) – description
Assessment of social impacts for decision-making processes and communication (Co-chairs: Peter Saling) – description
Challenges and opportunities for advancing alternatives assessment and chemical substitution (Co-chairs: Peter Fantke, Martin Scheringer) – description
Challenges in balancing social equity, ecology, and economics in mining (Co-chairs: Lawrence Kapustka, Ron McCormick) – description
Experiences with the guidance for identifying endocrine disruptors – learnings and potential needs for further development of assessment approaches (Co-chairs: Peter Lepper, Henrik Holbech, Lennart Weltje, Stefania Barmaz) – description
From the scientific ivory tower down to the field (Co-chairs: Peter Dohmen, Thomas-Benjamin Seiler, Anne-Katrin Mueller) – description
Higher-tier studies: Regulatory Expectations, Practicability and Ecological Reality (Co-chairs: Silvio Knaebe, Franz Streissl) – description
Improving the risk management of agrochemicals: Regulatory implementation of risk mitigation (Co-chairs: Robin Sur, Stefan Reichenberger, Nadia Carluer, Achim Gathmann) – description
Pesticide Regulation in The EU: How do we reconcile increasing environmental safety standards with food security? (Co-chairs: Peter Campbell, Ingrid Asker) – description
Potency Matters (Co-chairs: Christopher Borgert, Ellen M. Mihaich, Lyle Burgoon, Leo Posthuma) – description
Revision of the EFSA Guidance Document on Birds and Mammals (Co-chairs: Juan Pascual, Joost Lahr, Michael Fryer) – description
Safe by Design: responsible and innovative research for safe and sustainable chemistry (Co-chairs: Ester Papa, Elena Semenzin, Denis Mottet) – description
Science and risk communication in an ever changing world: Where do we come from and where do we go?(Co-chairs: Thomas-Benjamin Seiler) – description
Sustainable Solutions to Manage and Replace Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs)(Co-chairs: Lena Vierke, Annegret Biegel-Engler, Ian Ross) – description
Translational Research to Improve the Value of Science to Decision Makers and Other Stakeholders(Co-chairs: Anne Rea, Wayne R. Munns) – description
Environmental Disasters, Toxicity, and Health: An Historical Global Perspective (Co-chairs: Philip Wexler, Steven Gilbert) – description
From failure to fortune (approaches, experiments, communication) (Co-chairs: Katharina Heye, Christoph Schuer, Lisa Zimmermann) – description
The benefit of Indigenous knowledge and values in environmental management – strengthening decision making by merging the traditional and the modern (Co-chairs: Bradley Joseph Moggridge, Ross Smith, Tracey Godfery, Tero Mustonen) – description
Trans-disciplinary research on coastal ecosystems of the Northern Europe: achievements and problems (Co-chairs: Svetlana Patsaeva, Elena Krasnova, Artem Poromov, Tatiana Kuznetsova) – description
Understanding the plastics problem: Integrating interdisciplinary knowledge to tackle a global, multifaceted issue (Co-chairs: Jane Muncke, Bethanie Carney Almroth) – description
Adverse effects of chemicals on host-associated and free-living microbiomes
Understanding the response of microbial communities to natural and anthropogenic stressors is one of the key challenges currently facing environmental microbiology and ecotoxicology. Microbiomes are not only critical to soil fertility, water quality, and performance of engineered ecosystems but also play a central role in plant and animal health. The interaction between microbiome and chemical alters the symbiotic relationship between host and microflora; this can lead to adverse effects associated with nutrient processing, development, immune response, and behavior to name but a few biological responses. Despite an immense amount of data generated to date on the microbiome, it remains challenging to predict responses of complex microbial communities to stressors. This lack of general understanding of the ecotoxicological impact of stressors on microbial ecosystems might be due, in part, to a segregation of microbiome researchers in separate scientific disciplines (e.g. ecotoxicology, ecology, engineering, and medicine), working on different focal ecosystems (e.g. aquatic, terrestrial, plant, animal, engineered ecosystems), with few opportunities to develop fruitful interactions. This session aims to gather scientists with varied backgrounds to facilitate collaboration and interdisciplinary solutions and improve our knowledge of microbial ecotoxicology and environmental stressors. This session is open to scientists willing to present new experimental and theoretical discoveries to broadly share new insight on effects of the external stressors on microbial community. The session invites the following types of studies: (1) integrative approach to assess the effects of stressors on microbial diversity, especially those that impact ecosystem function or phenotypic endpoints of health; (2) single or multiple stressor(s) across different environments or host species. The goal being to propose generalizable insights into microbiome responses to disturbances; (3) identification of microbial indicators (e.g. taxa or keystone species or guilds) responsive to single or multiple stressors, highlighting community-level signatures of stressed microbiomes. This session is supported by the EcotoxicoMic network (https://ecotoxicomic.org/) and the Microbiome Stress Project (https://microbiomestressproject.weebly.com/), which supports research on microbial ecotoxicology across diverse environments submitted to various stressors.
Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing for Ecotoxicity Assessments: Exploring New And Novel Approaches
Within this session, new and novel approaches to the use of vertebrate organisms (e.g. fish, amphibians, and birds) for ecotoxicity tests will be explored, with a focus on understanding the role that various alternatives have in supporting environmental hazard and risk assessments of chemicals. Numerous technical and regulatory challenges need to be considered for the integration of the traditional 3Rs (Reduction, Refinement, and Replacement of animal tests) along with the more recently included 3Rs: Reproducibility, Relevance and applicability for Regulatory use. In Europe, the need for alternative approaches has been primarily driven by certain legislation such as the EU Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, the UK Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, the 7th Amendment to the EU Cosmetics Directive, selected legislation in Germany and the European chemical legislation REACH. As an example, in REACH it is possible in principle to fulfill so-called ‘standard information requirements’ by other means than new experimental studies including existing non-GLP and non-guideline data, weight of evidence (WoE) approaches; quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) predictions, in vitro methods, grouping of substances, and read-across approaches. This session will explore the development and adoption of innovative approaches to chemical or effluent assessments related to both acute and chronic ecotoxicity endpoints. We encourage presentations that include read-across, enhanced predictive models (e.g. QSARs) and new developments or adaptations for in vitro and in vivo models to support environmental hazard and risk assessments. Some of the adaptations may also be based on methodologies such as Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs) and/or OMICs. Additionally, progress relating to the generation of new bioaccumulation data using alternative approaches, particularly for persistent, bioaccumulative and/or toxic (PBT) chemicals assessments, or how the various approaches or methods could be accepted into a regulatory framework and/or integrated test strategy are also encouraged. We encourage discussions on how to address uncertainties, challenges, potential limitations, advantages and needs for further development of alternative approaches. And finally, we encourage ideas for how any new approach could be accepted into a regulatory framework or integrated test strategy. This session is organised by the SETAC Animal Alternatives in Environmental Science Interest Group (AAES IG).
Benefits of BiER: How Biotransformation and Elimination Rate related science can improve the regulation and the sustainable use of chemicals
Co-chairs: Michelle Rau Embry, Ester Papa, Jon A. Arnot
Regulatory programs seek to evaluate chemicals used by society to identify those that may pose high concern and potential risks to humans and the environment. For example, the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation aims to ensure that the risks from substances of very high concern are properly controlled, and to progressively replace these substances with more sustainable alternatives. In addition, there is a need to reduce animal (vertebrate) use and testing for chemical assessments. Early identification, management, and possible substitution of substances of concern is a key regulatory goal. In response to these needs, scientific methods and criteria to evaluate and identify chemicals of concern have largely evolved in the last ten years. For instance, there has been substantial progress in measuring and estimating biotransformation rates for organic chemicals, a key parameter that influences assessment of chemical bioaccumulation in fish and terrestrial organisms. Biokinetic processes play an important role in ecological and human health assessments by influencing a substance’s fate, exposure, bioaccumulation, and toxicity. Biotransformation and elimination rate (i.e. BiER) data can be utilized in diverse contexts for chemical assessments (screening, prioritization, substitution, risk assessment). There are numerous efforts to collect existing or generate new BiER data measured in vitro and in vivo in various species, as well development of computational (in silico) models. This session will highlight scientific developments in BiER-related science and demonstrate how these data streams can be used for different context-specific objectives, including evaluations to reduce and regulate the use of chemicals in the environment, such as PBT assessment and exposure and risk assessment. The session may include, but is not limited to: database development, testing programs, QSAR development, PBP(T)K model development, species extrapolation / sensitivity analysis, in vitro method development / application, in vitro-in vivo extrapolation, and regulatory applications (e.g., risk assessment, prioritization / screening, bioaccumulation assessment, etc.). We welcome presentations that describe ongoing or planned projects related to biotransformation and elimination rates in various species / taxa (plants, invertebrates, fish, rodents, birds, veterinary / agricultural species, humans, etc.) as well as applications(s) and data gaps identified for legacy contaminants, emerging contaminants and chemical mixtures. This session will provide a platform to highlight ongoing efforts and applications, with an effort towards facilitating communication and coordination amongst stakeholders.
Bridging the gap: Maximizing the role of mechanistic approaches (including omics) for better chemical safety decisions across humans and ecosystems
Co-chairs: Bruno Campos, Helena Cristina Silva de Assis, Anze Zupanic, Paul Jennings
Traditionally, the assessment of chemical safety (human and environmental) has been based on batteries of in vivo studies using only a few species selected as representative of all taxonomic groups, boosted by some in silico and/or in vitro approaches and a knowledge of human/environmental exposure levels. Whilst this approach has been routinely used for new chemicals, it is not possible to generate complete toxicological profiles with traditional testing strategies for all existing chemicals. To address this problem, there is ever more the need to improve our ability to apply chemical read-across approaches and cross-species extrapolation to fill data-gaps. The use of safety information can vary across the complex landscape of applications, although generally, current approaches are usually based upon “worst-case scenarios” and aimed to be protective rather than realistic. Increased mechanistic understanding of toxicity has provided a broader awareness of toxicity pathways, similarities across species and has led to an increased uptake of Next Generation Risk Assessment (NGRA) approaches, simultaneously, increasing testing speed, decreasing costs and reducing regulatory drivers for in vivo testing. New approaches methodologies (NAMs) are greatly enhancing our abilities to improve decision-making both in human and environmental toxicology. Whilst recognising that the use of molecular-based/high content data and mechanistic approaches for assuring human/environmental safety is still in its infancy, there is a growing appreciation that such approaches have the potential to support and complement traditional (eco)toxicological approaches and catalyse the paradigm shift to proactive pathway-based cross-species data generation. However, although significant progress has been made, there are currently still relatively few examples that demonstrate the confidence to use AOPs/mechanism-based assumptions to realise cross-species (including human) extrapolation using molecular-based/high content data. We believe that there is value in reviewing existing examples across both human and environmental safety, with a potential for developing new tools and, where appropriate, embedding these into regulatory decision making. We are organizing this session to invite works focused on improving mechanistic understanding of toxicity for both human and environmental-relevant species using NAMs (including omics data) linked to adverse outcomes. These can include in silico, in vitro or in vivo non-vertebrate studies. Abstracts involving modelling (empirical, conceptual, and process-based), site-specific case studies, novel testing strategies for risk assessment, and issues in environmental management are also encouraged to apply. We intend to address the question: How can we maximise the synergies between NGRA data generated within Human Health and the environmental space to support safety decisions? Likewise, we encourage submission of work demonstrating where environmentally-relevant data can be used to aid human-related decisions. We welcome work discussing experimental as well as data-mining and modelling approaches. We will invite speakers from stakeholder groups including policy makers, governmental regulatory agencies, industry and academia to present on these challenges. Finally, we welcome discussions on how to improve the use of weight-of-evidence approaches, under current legislative packages.
Can we demystify machine learning for environmental chemistry and (environmental) toxicology?
Several scientific fields have benefited from the last advances of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), such as drug discovery and design, medical imaging, chemical synthesis and drug ADME prediction. In the field of environmental chemistry and toxicology, however, the application of machine learning approaches is often discouraged, since the models may appear as black boxes to non-expert users. For instance, in the field of quantitative structure activity relationship (QSAR), ML- and molecular descriptor-based approaches are often criticized in the favour of more understandable algorithms, often at the expenses of prediction accuracy and applicability domain. This session aims to critically analyse the benefits, limitations and the potential of machine learning applied to environmental chemistry and toxicology. Some of the relevant questions we will try to answer in this session are the following: • Can we accept machine learning applied to environmental toxicology and chemistry? • To what extent is the introduction of ML approaches in environmental toxicology and chemistry feasible? What are the limitations and the benefits? • How to demystify ML approaches in the field? • How to improve the interpretability and acceptability of ML? • What are the best procedures for ensuring acceptability, reliability and understandability of the chosen approaches? • Does the performance outweighs the increased complexity of ML compared to classical modelling approaches? • What are novel promising fields for the application of ML in environmental chemistry and toxicology? This session welcomes abstract submission of machine learning and AI applications to any environmental chemistry and toxicology question. Additionally, insights, reviews, discussions as well as negative/positive commentaries on the use of such tools are most welcome. The session aims to be open to both experts and non-expert modellers, aiming to initiate a discussion on how the scientific community can benefit from machine learning and what are the real limitations and possibilities. Abstracts will be evaluated for the quality of their content, as well as for their potential to advance the current understanding or applicability of machine learning techniques to the field of environmental chemistry and toxicology.
Ecotoxicology of nanoplastics: Mechanistic approaches to understand their risk for the environment and human health
Microplastics have long been recognized as environmental pollutants causing impacts to marine and terrestrial life. However, the importance of the smaller fractions, nanoplastics, has only been documented in recent times. Nanoplastics, like other nanomaterials, have unique properties due to their size, shape and their capacity to interact with other substances due to their large surface area. Nanoplastics can produce physical damage but they may also be transported across cell membranes and persist in the environment due to their relative inertness. In this regard, mechanistic approaches are needed in order to identify the cascade of signaling events, at different levels of biological organization, which induce a cellular, whole organism or ecological response to nanoplastic exposure. The chemical composition of plastics makes them a conveyor for non-polar anthropogenic pollutants supposing an additional risk factor for which very little is known. This session aims at: 1) Gathering the information required to evaluate the risk posed by nanoplastics to the environment and human health in real-world scenarios; 2) Identifying the components of Potential Outcome Pathways at different levels of biological organization from molecules and whole organisms to ecological responses; for this, special attention will be paid to the mechanisms of nanoplastic internalization and to their toxic action by using suitable biomarkers as indicators of cytotoxicity, cell viability, oxidative and genotoxic damages. The use of high-throughput techniques (RNA-Seq and proteomics) may allow the generation of biomarkers (genes and proteins) of global importance in the elucidation of the biological effects of micro and nanoplastics. At the higher levels of biological organization it is important to consider structural changes at the level of population and communities and 3) Discussing the role of nanoplastics as vectors for other pollutants.
Endocrine Disruption in Invertebrates: Historical Perspectives, New Developments, and Key Research Needs
In 1998, at an international SETAC workshop on endocrine disruption (ED) in invertebrates, it was concluded that more research was urgently needed to better understand and predict potential hormone disruption in invertebrates. Over the past 20 years, however, ED in invertebrates has received far less attention than in vertebrates, which has resulted in few examples of ED and still poorly understood hormonal systems in most invertebrate taxa when compared with vertebrates. On the other hand, several invertebrate models have been or are being incorporated worldwide into regulatory screening and testing programs for ED. In addition, significant advancements in toxicogenomics provide new and powerful tools to study hormonal regulation and its potential disruption in invertebrates. Recent efforts have also focused on applying the Adverse Outcome Pathway framework to study endocrine disruption in invertebrates. The objective of this session is to provide an overview of past and current invertebrate ED research, regulations, and test development and aims to identify key research needs, new developments in mechanistic research, and key research needs. We specifically encourage talks that provide high-level summaries of past and ongoing research and identify key research needs for ecologically, economically, and/or toxicologically important aquatic and terrestrial taxa (e.g., mollusks, crustaceans, etc.). Higher-level overviews of studies focused on (comparative) endocrinology and mode-of-action in the context of ED are equally encouraged. Finally, talks that provide an overview of current ED regulations and test standardization and identify data gaps in current regulatory test approaches are encouraged.
Epigenetic and evolutionary effects of environmental stressors on environmental and human health
Scientific evidence suggests that environmental stressors, including natural and man-made chemicals and changes in biotic and abiotic factors, may influence the regulation of gene transcription, disrupt epigenetic processes and/or affect genetic elements, conditioning the sustainability and evolutionary fate of populations. These effects may be mediated by a wide variety of processes including alterations in transcription factor dynamics, DNA methylation, histone modifications, small RNA regulation, as well as the frequency and type of DNA mutations, including point mutations and structural mutations (copy number variation, insertions and deletions). These molecular changes may result in long-term impacts on fitness, health and disease in living organisms at the time of the exposure or later in life and, in some cases, may affect future generations. These processes are of fundamental importance in mediating the adverse effects of environmental stressors on individuals and populations and need to be considered within environmental risk assessment and chemical regulation. Indeed, epigenetic and evolutionary effects present new challenges for risk assessment as their adverse outcomes may occur long after the actual exposure to the stressor occurs. These delayed effects can occur in future generations, either via direct exposure of the germline during development (inter-generational effects); or even those not exposed to the initiating stressor (transgenerational effects). In recent years reports of multigenerational and transgenerational effects of stressors have emerged across a diversity of taxa, but often the mechanistic basis of these observations is poorly described and in some cases surrounded by controversy. Importantly, little is known about the normal functioning and natural variation in epigenetic traits, especially for environmental species and whether or not changes in those traits are responsible for adverse outcomes. Further, research is needed to identify the most informative epigenetic endpoints for risk assessment in order to address of the following key questions: When can a chemical or a class of chemicals be classified as hazardous by causing significant epigenetic effects on humans and other organisms? How do we develop standard test guidelines for epigenetic or evolutionary effects? Can ecotoxicological model organisms be used to develop effective and cost-efficient screening methods for epigenetic or evolutionary effects of chemicals in higher organisms including humans? What evidence is required to determine whether multigenerational effects have occurred and to elucidate their mechanistic pathways? This session aims to promote sharing of the current knowledge and a critical discussion of the future avenues of research and knowledge gaps in the field. We invite contributions that address how environmental stressors cause effects on gene regulation via a wide range of mechanisms including changes in methylation, histone modification, and post-transcriptional regulation that may manifest immediately upon exposure, later in life and/or in subsequent generations. Contributions that consider a broad range of taxa, from humans to wildlife species, are encouraged, as well as contributions discussing the development of model systems and recent technological innovations that will facilitate progress in this field. Overall, during this session we will promote the sharing of findings and ideas and discussion of future directions that will facilitate the incorporation of the emerging findings in environmental epigenetics into chemical risk assessment and decision making in the future. This session is supported by the EVOGenerate Work Group and Omics Interest Group and open to all interested in epigenetic and evolutionary effects of environmental stressors on living organisms. All those interested in this topic, in addition to participating in the session, are also welcome to join open meetings of these two groups during the SETAC conference.
Fish model species in human and environmental toxicology
Fish models are commonly used in human and ecotoxicological research to investigate the impact of chemicals on whole organisms. In fact, many important biological functions are conserved between fish species and humans. Fish have a wide application domain, spanning from basic developmental biology, neurobiology, endocrinology to immunology. The small size of some available fish species including the zebrafish (Danio rerio) or medaka (Oryzias latipes) and their robust nature makes them ideally suited for application in automated high throughput screening. Furthermore, fish early life stages offer all the key attributes of a complex in vivo system (e.g. including metabolism), as well as the advantages of the in vitro assays, as tests can be conducted in multiwell plate formats with small sample volumes and run in short periods of time. These characteristics make them well suited for toxicity testing of environmental samples and to detect unknown contaminants in effect directed analysis (EDA). Research on fish over the last decade has been greatly facilitated by the increasing number of sequenced genomes, which are available for more than twelve species with more pending. This, together with recent advances in genetic and epigenetic studies, including gene knockout and transgenesis technologies, greatly facilitates the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of toxicity, making fish ideally suited for defining adverse outcome pathways (AOPs). Due to the large similarity with other vertebrates, there is also a growing interest in the application of fish model species in human disease etiology and early development. Fish early life stages have recently been used in several cancer genetics studies and drug discovery tests. In ecotoxicology, fish are also studied outside of the laboratory in their native environment. Prominent models for native fish models are roach (Rutilus rutilus) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Studying fish in their natural habitat allows to investigate further than simple dose-effect assessments. Within this session, we intend to show recent developments in toxicological research using a variety of different fish model species, novel systems, endpoints, assays and testing strategies. We will focus on molecular approaches that could lead to new AOPs. Results of toxicity studies of single stressors as well as complex environmental samples are of interest. Molecular effects, multigenerational effects, and population level impacts will be considered. We especially welcome presentations highlighting new Omics approaches for metabolomics, transcriptomics, epigenomics, proteomics and lipidomics, ideally linking these to phenotype for use in AOPs. The session will be interdisciplinary and bring together researchers across a wide range of research areas with the view to enhance approaches for studying adverse effects in human and wildlife.
Novel developments in testing chemicals for endocrine disrupting properties
This session aims to address new developments in the evaluation of endocrine disrupting properties of chemicals. Specifically, we would like to invite speakers to present new testing/assessment methods and organisms, as well as approaches for addressing common and novel endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and their mixtures that might affect estrogen, androgen, thyroid, steroidogenesis, or other endocrine signaling pathways. The public concern about the health implications of EDCs has led to the development of current test systems, which include in silico, in vitro, and in vivo techniques focused on detecting potential endocrine activity, and in vivo tests that collect apical data to detect possible adverse effects. However, there are still limitations in existing testing approaches and research is continuing to close those gaps and to improve testing strategies and assessment of endpoints. Pragmatic, science-based approaches for EDC hazard and risk characterization rely on an integrated analysis of existing information in a weight of evidence assessment, based on specific and effective test systems. We invite speakers to present their test approaches that address specific gaps in current risk assessment, such as e.g. the lack of thyroid-specific endpoints in most vertebrate tests. Generally, we hope to discuss the gaps regarding: 1) adequately sensitive species and life stages; 2) mechanistic endpoints that are diagnostic for endocrine pathways of concern; 3) the linkage between mechanistic responses and apical, adverse outcomes; 4) dealing with complex mixtures; and 5) linking between endpoints of different biological organization levels up to and including the population level. Based on these gaps, we encourage speakers to incorporate the AOP (adverse outcome pathway) concept and the 3R principles for optimization of in vivo and in vitro test systems. Although multiple in vitro tests exist and are currently being developed, validated in vitro tests (e.g., for thyroid disruption) are not yet available. This is somewhat surprising, since in a number of countries animal testing is prohibited, for example for the safety assessment of cosmetic products, or not required for low tonnage industrial chemicals. These elements highlight the need to further develop screening and testing strategies for investigating ED properties, including in silico and in vitro methods that anchor chemicals acting through an endocrine mechanism to adverse apical responses. In this session we aim to recruit a diverse panel of speakers to address topics that contribute to filling the gaps outlined above.
Recent Proceedings on Bioaccumulation in Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecotoxicology
Modifications and changes in the approval processes for plant protection products, pharmaceuticals as well as for other emerging chemicals of concern has created the need for more robust testing methodologies that include longer-term/chronic endpoints and endpoints appropriate for risk assessments on a broader ecosystem scale. Regulatory institutions on regional, national and even multi-national level including The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and several national commissions (e.g. Federal Public Service in Belgium, ANSES in France) have expressed their need for such methodologies, i.e. “consideration of impacts on non-target species, on their on-going behaviour and on biodiversity and the ecosystem, including potential indirect effects via alteration of the food web.” Based on this development, standardized and reliable higher tier testing approaches are needed and in most cases, the bioaccumulation of the test compound in the test is required in order to access the chemical’s long-term/chronic toxicity. While there are already some robust testing methodologies available (OECD 305, OECD 315, OECD 245), others lack defined frameworks or are still at the edge of development (e.g., effects and toxicity of bioaccumulative chemicals on Non Target Plants, to pollinators and on soil organisms). This session invites all members of the Ecotoxicology and Bioaccumulation communities to present and share their experience and ideas on the raised and still rising impact and need for such specific studies and research aspects. Further on, input, opinions and experience on the future challenges of risk assessment for bioaccumulative chemicals within all levels and niches of Ecotoxicology are highly welcomed and invited to be shared within the stakeholder community and interested parties, joining from agrochemical, but also pharmaceutical and chemical sectors
Wildlife ecotoxicology: from sub-lethal responses to adverse effects at individual and population level
Wildlife, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, are exposed to a range of contaminants and exposure routes and scenarios may differ. Generally, ambient exposure levels appear to be decreasing, although the number of chemicals that organisms are exposed to has increased. Hence, exposure may appear at relatively low levels but chronic over time and in an expanding cocktail. Nevertheless, at contaminated sites free ranging animals can still be exposed acutely via dietary, respiratory or dermal routes to relatively high levels of chemicals, e.g. purposely released in the environment, including plant protection products, insecticides or fungicides, or rodenticides. Effects to low level chronic exposure are generally non-lethal, and may affect a range of elusive endpoints like behaviour, immune competence or disrupt the endocrine system. However, assessment of such sometimes subtle effects can only be based on detailed insights in the modes of action at different levels of biological integration in well-designed studies taking relevant confounding factors into account. In contrast, acute toxicity may affect animals quite obviously, for example, mortality, but affected animals can be difficult to recover. Linking link molecular or ‘biomarker’ effects to individual health or even to impacts at the population level is challenging, although for both prospective as retrospective risk assessment concepts and approaches that can used to establish such links are essential. In this session we are soliciting presentations on effects at molecular and higher levels of organisation, and in particular studies that link between such levels in interaction with other environmental variables.
Ecosystems are characterised by a high spatial and temporal variability and in recent years environmental risk assessment has begun to adopt strategies to address more and more this variability. At landscape scales, ecological as well as chemical processes may exhibit different dynamics as compared to standardized and one-dimensional test settings. Extrapolation of ecological effects of toxicants from such tests to other, more ecologically relevant spatiotemporal scales requires an additional effort. Therefore, the scientific and regulatory interpretation of such risk assessment in time and space becomes a complex exercise. Currently, at lower tiers, environmental risk assessment is a static approach based on worst-case assumptions for which results from standard toxicity tests are compared to the maximal expected exposure. However, exposure, effect manifestation, and recovery are dynamic processes which depend also on site-specific features. For the same reason, assessing the representativeness of specific experiments at the EU level is always a difficult task, even when more realistic approaches are adopted, like those used in higher tier studies (e.g., semi-field and field studies). In this perspective, modelling can play an important role in identifying the most influential drivers at each relevant scale, and therefore being used for predicting exposure and effects, but also as a tool to optimise experimental set-ups. In addition, current environmental risk assessment procedures, focussing on local scales, consider one stressor at a time. However, an increased consideration of the spatiotemporal scale may lead to take into account that populations and communities in the environment are subject to multiple diverse stressors. Presentations in this session may comprise, but do not have to be limited to, results about ecotoxicological effects and/or chemical exposure patterns obtained by the means of model simulations or measurements on mesocosms, field or monitoring campaigns. This session is inviting especially presentations of case studies which demonstrate how to link risk assessment output (lower or higher tiers, laboratory or field studies) to a realistic risk assessment taking into account the heterogeneity in time and/or space, e.g. how to construct risk maps to define vulnerability scenarios based on field studies or how to link exposure over time to effects on individual and population level in realistic landscapes. Also aspects of spatial ecology that influence ecotoxicological effects in the environment are highly welcomed so this session will boldly go where no man has gone before …Engage!
Aquatic and terrestrial plant ecology: ecotoxicology, risk assessment and modelling
Plants are key structural and functional components of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and form the basis of many food webs. The adequate protection of plant communities from adverse chemical impacts must be ensured via appropriate chemical risk assessment schemes. Increasingly, these risk assessments are complemented by effect modelling approaches, which can facilitate extrapolation between different levels of biological organization (e.g. individuals, populations and communities) as well as across varying environmental conditions. This session is an initiative of the SETAC Plants and Effect Modelling Interest Groups and welcomes scientific contributions in the fields of aquatic and terrestrial plant ecology and ecotoxicology as related to understanding chemical impacts and supporting risk assessments. Abstracts may cover algae, higher aquatic plants and terrestrial plants in the following areas: • Test methods for assessing chemical effects on aquatic and terrestrial plants • Use of plant data in chemical risk assessments and associated tools (e.g. species sensitivity distributions). • The use and development of TKTD, population, community and landscape-level models for plant risk assessment. • Linking experimental design with model input parameters. • Challenges relating to the measurement of reproductive parameters in plants and the use of these endpoints in effects models. • Linking test design with predicted environmental exposure profiles in aquatic environments (e.g. pulsed dose studies for aquatic plants) and the role of modelling in predicting the effects of time-variable exposure. • Experimental and modelling methods for evaluating the potential of plant populations to recover from adverse impacts. • Understanding plant community composition and dynamics to inform protection goals, experimental methods and modelling approaches. • Using plants in buffer zones to mitigate exposure of aquatic and terrestrial environments and the use of aquatic plants in artificial wetlands for phytoremediation and improvement of water quality.
Bees, bugs and beneficials in environmental risk assessment and testing
After the publication of EFSAs scientific opinion on pollinators and bees in 2013 the finalization of a new document on environmental risk assessment of plant protection products on beneficial arthropod testing is straight ahead. Major changes in these revised and proposed risk assessments are: i) their spatial scale which has been enlarged considerably from for instance field to landscape level and ii) the assessment of effects on biodiversity which is not explicitly addressed within the currently existing guidance documents. Therefore appropriate risk assessment methodologies and testing strategies needs to be developed. Also, surrogacy issues between test species in the lab or semi-field and wild species are a point of concern. Where for instance, bumble bees and solitary bees have become a focus of new regulatory research in Europe, in other parts of the world more attention is given to local species. Additionally, these risk assessments adopted a more mechanistic approach resulting in more sophisticated models which, in time, will feed into in risk assessment procedures. This session aims to provide a balanced overview of ongoing developments in pollinator and non-target arthropod risk assessment and consequently presentations in this session may comprise, but do not have to be limited to, finding adequate species to address new data requirements, results of first and higher tier effect studies, exposure assessments and modelling exercises. Aspects dealing with the spatial and temporal ecology of pollinators (including non-bees) and other non-target arthropods in various landscapes, ideas and opinions on the future changes of risk assessment, testing strategies (from lower TIER to semi-field and landscape level assessments) are highly welcomed.
Climate impacts on polar and alpine ecotoxicology and environmental chemistry
Global climate change is gradually but certainly being manifested by changes in the hydrology, the cryosphere, and the ecology of marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments. Most sensitive to such changes are the polar and alpine regions which show unprecedented warming twice the rate of the global average. Not only do these regions suffer at the same time from the persistent issue of long-range transport contamination, but there is also increasing evidence showing that climate variation is impacting spatiotemporal trends and biological effects, of persistent organic pollutants and mercury in wildlife. Primary and secondary contaminant sources are (re)emerging in the polar and alpine regions as a direct result of the impact of climate change on the abiotic environment, due to increased air and water temperatures, altered precipitation and air current patterns, and overall deteriorating ice conditions. These changes are also impacting biota via altered food web uptake and pathways and changes in migration patterns. However, there remain many challenges in understanding how climate change data and their variability can be best integrated with data on the levels and effects observed for different polar and alpine compartments, or optimally utilised to improve in silico exercises on the fate and transport. This session aims to provide a platform to promote scientific awareness of and facilitate discussion and dissemination of the latest research results on the effects of climate change on sources, pathways, and health impacts of legacy, emerging and yet-to-be-identified contaminants in polar and alpine regions. We especially welcome research elucidating relationships between spatial and temporal trends of contaminants and climate indicators, and how such research may interact with local or international chemical regulation, as well as how ongoing rapid environmental change in the polar and alpine regions resonates in emerging and altered primary and secondary contaminant sources.
Cross-ecosystem effects of chemical pollutants
Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems subsidize each other inter aliavia fluxes of energy, carbon, and nutrients. These subsidies are often critically important for the structure and functioning of receiving habitats. For instance, the metabolism of small streams is often dominated by detrital inputs from riparian vegetation, whilst emergence of adult aquatic insects can be a major food source for terrestrial predators. However, these fluxes can be affected – both in quantity as well as in quality – by anthropogenic stressors such as chemical pollutants. The role of terrestrial systems as a resource donor (i.e., land-to-water fluxes) is relatively well-studied, and toxicant effects on associated ecosystem processes has received considerable attention in the last two decades. Nonetheless, pollutant effects on these interactions are still not considered in regulatory frameworks. In contrast, water-to-land fluxes and the implications of pollutants in these have received much less attention, both from an ecological as well as from an ecotoxicological perspective.
We invite for this session poster and platform presentations that are targeting the linkage across ecosystem boundaries in the context of (chemical) stress responses. We hope to have a diverse program that combines ecological questions with regulatory aspects. As a special feature, we are planning to open the session with a key note presentation to set the stage for the following presentations being part of this session.
Developing the field of trophic ecotoxicology
Many organisms are exposed to pollutants through ingestion of contaminated biotic or abiotic matter, making trophic interactions a crucial vector of contaminant transfer in both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Secondary poisoning and biomagnification are of considerable importance for risk assessment and biological conservation. Beyond such processes which have been the cause of many catastrophic emblematic events of pollutants threat to wildlife, trophic interactions have many ecotoxicological implications. Research within the last decades have identified some crucial factors determining the risks of biomagnification, either related to the chemical properties or to ecological trophic components, but many questions remained; for instance concerning parameters such as the Koa , or molecules rarely monitored in the field such as emerging contaminants, or processes related to food web topography. Furthermore, disentangling direct factors of spatial or temporal trends in exposure from consequences of diet shifts or food web structure is a more complicated issue. Trophic cascades are receiving increasing attention but are still an emerging topic notably in terrestrial ecosystems. Despite being well recognized that individual sensitivity to toxicants can be affected by trophic parameters such as nutritional stress, energy budget, and ecological stoichiometry which could play either as additional stressors or as protective factors, not sufficient knowledge exists to accurately predict the effects. While contaminants can be considered as tracers of trophic relationships and help deciphering trophic connections, cascades and their consequences, this research area is still marginal. These examples show that many questions calling to both ecotoxicology and trophic ecology are still unanswered, and therefore new insights may help the fundamental as well as operational barriers related to environmental pollution to be overcome. In this session, we invite presentations providing research results handling trophic or nutritional ecology questions in an ecotoxicological context or contaminant issues within trophic ecology studies as well as cutting-edge science about trophic ecotoxicology.
Effects of multiple stressors in birds and mammals: field and experimental approaches
Birds and mammals are especially prone to the combined effects of pollution and other multiple environmental stressors, including climate change. Climate change may affect the availability of food, prevalence of disease and exposure to contaminants. Thus monitoring spatial and temporal trends and investigating effects of environmental contaminants including legacy compounds, trace elements, and current-use chemicals of potential health concern (e.g. emerging perfluorinated compounds and flame retardants) is of importance. Further, it is important to understand the effects of contaminants to assist in developing relevant strategies to protect wildlife in the context of climate change. Birds and mammals have been used extensively in field and laboratory settings to characterize the toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics of priority chemicals, alone or in mixtures, and their potential toxicological effects (e.g., endocrine and immune functions, reproduction, development, etc.). In this session we solicit topics that may include, but are not limited to: (1) the exposure and spatiotemporal trends of contaminants in birds and mammals in relation to environmental stressors (e.g. food abundance, habitat quality, urbanization, climate change), including polar regions (2) the factors that affect the uptake, bioaccumulation, and biotransformation of (mixtures of) contaminants in birds and mammals; (3) the exposure-related toxicological impacts in a multiple stressor scenario; (4) the integration and modelling of broad-scale environmental variables (e.g., climate change, change in food web dynamics, habitat loss, etc.) impacting birds and mammals.
Environmental risk assessment of amphibians and reptiles: advancing knowledge and reducing uncertainty
Amphibian and reptile toxicity data have not been traditionally taken into account when assessing risks of man-made chemicals that are released to the environment. For plant protection products (PPP), concerns have been raised that the current risk assessment schemes may not sufficiently cover the risk for amphibians and reptiles exposed to intended uses of these substances. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently published a Scientific Opinion on the state of the science on pesticide risk assessment for amphibian and reptiles addressing these concerns. Several open issues were identified pointing to important knowledge gaps that need to be addressed in order to complete an efficient risk assessment scheme for these organisms. On the exposure assessment side, a lack in data about the size and location of ponds inhabited by amphibians or the temporal and spatial patterns of agricultural area uses. On the other side, crucial information is missing for the effect assessment, such as the size and impact of oral and dermal exposure routes, impact of chronic exposure and on the sensitivity of amphibians and reptiles compared with other non-target organisms due to lacking toxicity data and tests. There are many uncertainties in the assessment regarding the impact of PPP and other environmental pollutants on amphibians and reptiles. This session welcomes communication in both the exposure and effect characterization, at any level of biological organisation, i.e. from physiological responses to field studies, that contribute to fill knowledge gaps and reduce uncertainties relative to the assessment of risk of environmental pollution on amphibians and reptiles
Examining behavioural effects of chemical contaminants and other stressors on behaviour, ecology and evolution of wildlife
Today, almost all organisms on Earth live in habitats modified by the actions of humans. Legislators and the media often focus on death or severe reproductive malfunctions. However, animals that fail to forage efficiently, avoid predators or attract mates will accrue zero fitness. Behaviour, therefore, provides a sensitive, non-lethal biomarker of responses to environmental change by integrating multiple levels of biological organization. Importantly, contaminant effects that occur at the molecular or physiological level can manifest at much higher levels of organization, such as behaviour, often times leading to population, community, or even ecosystem level effects. Understanding such adverse outcomes is further challenged as the chemical “universe” continues to change through time as older compounds are phased out and newer substances enter commerce. For example, pharmaceuticals, pesticides and endocrine disrupting chemicals in the environment can alter reproductive and foraging performance. To date, research in behavioural ecotoxicology has largely focused on direct effects of contaminants on individuals, but chemical contaminants can also affect animal behaviour indirectly. For instance, when contaminant-induced changes to animal behaviour in one organism or species have cascading effects on other organisms and species in the exposed system. While the importance of investigating both direct and indirect effects of contaminants is evident, this multi-directional approach has rarely been applied in ecotoxicology. The main objective of this session is to focus on studies conducted at environmentally relevant concentrations, and unravel behavioural end-points that are ecologically and evolutionarily relevant to the fitness of exposed animals. Specifically, we welcome research projects that have explored both direct and indirect effects of chemical contaminants on behaviour of wildlife, but also projects that have attempted the ‘lab to field’ approach to predict the ecosystem outcomes of the ecological effects of chemical contaminants. This session will provide a platform to experts from different disciplines and career stages who will provide insights into the behavioural responses of animals (both terrestrial and aquatic) representing multiple trophic levels among vertebrate and invertebrate species, to chemical contaminants. The ultimate objective of the session is to consolidate the current state of knowledge on behavioural effects of chemical contaminants and other stressors to effectively inform future environmental assessment management in natural systems.
Incorporating ecosystem functioning into environmental quality assessment
In response to environmental quality deterioration, policies, like the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), have been adopted that aim at achieving a good chemical and ecological status of water bodies. According to the EU WFD, monitoring strategies should include the assessment of both ecosystem structure and functioning in the determination of the ecological status. However, in practice the monitoring of surface waters often only encompasses structural measurements related to physicochemical parameters or biological community composition. Although a proposal for an EU Soil Framework Directive was withdrawn in 2014, different regulations aim at preventing or reducing soil quality deterioration, by preventing damage to ecosystem structure and function with the final aim to protect ecosystem services. Yet also in the case of soil, such aims are mainly approached by assessing structural endpoints. These point-in-time measurements of structure are, however, no reliable indicator of impairments caused by contaminants. It has been argued that monitoring of ecosystems should also include measurements of functional parameters. Yet, in current monitoring strategies, ecosystem functioning, despite its relevance, is largely overlooked. Therefore, this session aims to explore the most recent findings regarding the incorporation of ecosystem functional parameters into environmental quality assessment strategies. This session welcomes contributions that investigate the relationship between multiple stressors, like contaminants and eutrophication, and ecosystem functioning. We aim for studies that link the performance of individual organisms under single and combined stressor exposure with ecological functions at higher levels (population, community, ecosystem, landscape). Studies that combine the use of bioanalytical tools and measurements of ecosystem functional parameters are also highly appreciated. Understudied aspects include linking single bioanalytical responses resulting from stressor exposure to ecological functions at higher levels, defining which functional parameters are best fit to assess and predict combined stressor effects, defining which environmental compartment jeopardizes ecosystem functioning most, the relationship between ecosystem structure and functioning, regulatory aspects of incorporating ecosystem functioning into quality assessments, the relationship between ecosystem processes, ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services and the development of integrated methodologies that better predict the combined effects of stressors on ecosystem functioning.
Individual variation in ecotoxicological research: a change from unwanted noise to a meaningful endpoint
Although variation in the sensitivity of species to toxicants is a fundamental point always emphasized in ecotoxicology, and although it is agreed that variability is the primary factor in natural selection, the within-species variation is little addressed component in toxicological studies. However, studies have increasingly shown that different populations of a species vary in their tolerance to contaminants, and that individual variation within a single population can be marked. Despite this, in ecotoxicological (and other) studies one is normally only interested in means, and usually only uses variability in testing, if values from different groups have similar variances, which allows parametric statistical testing to be done. However, exposure to toxicants can affect the within-population variability. This then affects the possibilities of the population to tolerate other stresses. This possibility is relevant for all species and all measured parameters. Thus, the purpose of this session is to discuss, what can cause changes in individual variability as a result of stressor exposure and hopefully convince the listeners that variability could be an important endpoint in ecotoxicological studies regardless of the type of organism studied and parameter measured. (In our own studies we have actually seen that an oil exposure affects variance without affecting mean: while this indicates that there is clearly an effect of contaminant, the mean-based evaluation would not pick it up).
Soil quality in agricultural landscapes: Ecotoxicological tools and concepts for a retrospective environmental risk assessment
Soil contamination by chemicals has been recognised as the third most important threat to soil functions in Europe (FAO & ITPS: Status of the world’s soil resources, 2015). A recent publication and workshop held by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Global Soil Partnership highlighted the importance of pollution as a driver for the degradation of soil health and fertility (FAO Soil Pollution: a hidden reality, 2018). Soil organisms provide a wide range of services that enable soil fertility, such as decomposition and nutrient recycling. However, active substances in plant protection products (PPP) or the concentration of heavy metals in fertilisers can cause a negative impact on these organisms and therefore on the ecosystem services they provide. Within the scope of the European Plant Protection Regulation, EFSA has now published an opinion paper on the state of the science aiming at improving the prospective of risk assessment of in-soil organisms, paving the way to a revision of the current European guidance associated with authorization and handling of PPP. Concerning the retrospective environmental risk assessment and monitoring approaches, during the last decade it became evident that the impact of contaminants on soil can only be understood by using a multidisciplinary approach. At present, weight-of-evidence approaches, such as soil quality TRIAD combining chemical, ecotoxicological and ecological tools are widely accepted to assess contaminated sites . However, it is not clear yet in how far the existing ecotoxicological tests and bioindicators are adequate to evaluate the possible impacts on soil fertility in agricultural landscapes, once organisms are exposed to the cocktails of substances used in agricultural practices . Description or estimation of changes in populations or ecosystems (biodiversity, functional aspects, traits) at such specific landscapes is not often evident, and there is a need to continuously develop, adapt, and update existing tools or concepts of assessment. Thus, the aim of this session is to present different ecotoxicological approaches and tools as well as new ideas for concepts, which can help us to build the foundation for a successful retrospective risk assessment.
Understanding the complexity of the natural aquatic environment facing global changes
Aquatic ecosystems are complex and dynamic adaptive systems driven by multiple biotic and abiotic factors. These factors encompass an intricate range of biological interactions and environmental pressures, and they all influence one another. Under global changes the interaction between these factors may be disturbed and can impair the normal functioning of the aquatic ecosystem. A set of parameters and mechanisms may be affected with repercussions at several biological levels. Hence, it is of crucial importance to understand how abiotic and biotic factors interact with one another in a changing world and how species respond to this disruption, as well as the implications along the trophic web. Additionally, in order to stablish early warning indicators and implement prevention or even mitigation measures, it is of high importance to comprehend the action mechanisms and adequality quantify the impacts resulting from global changes. This session is open to all contributions (oral/poster) focused on the combined effects of biotic and abiotic factors in aquatic ecosystems facing global changes, as well as on integrative tools to analyze these impacts from molecular to high levels of biological organization. Studies focused on natural environment as well as on controlled experiments are welcome.
Bioaccumulation of manufactured nanomaterials in aquatic and terrestrial organisms
Manufactured nanomaterials (MNMs) are increasingly used as additives or active components in various applications and commercial products, e.g. textiles, sunscreens, paints, drug delivery systems, cosmetics, medical devices for diagnostic, textiles, etc. Since MNMs exhibit altered physical and chemical properties compared to bulk materials, such as higher reactivity or higher specific surface area, and since they may show enhanced uptake due to their size, potentially hazardous biological outcomes are a concern with obvious relevance for an adequate understanding of the fate and possible adverse effects of MNMs in the environment. This session will provide a platform for scientists, regulators and stakeholders to highlight ongoing efforts related to the testing and assessment of bioaccumulation of MNMs in aquatic and terrestrial organisms.
Biogeochemistry and fate of organic pollutants in aquatic systems
The transport and fate of organic pollutants is driven by physicochemical and biological factors. However, our understanding of the pivotal role of each of them in controlling organic pollutants’ biogeochemistry in aquatic systems remains uncharacterized, especially for emerging pollutants. We envisage a session covering the biogeochemistry and fate of a wide range of organic pollutants – from legacy POPs to emerging contaminants such as perfluorinated compounds (PFASs), organophosphate esters (OPEs) etc. Some of the processes we aim to cover in the session include: atmospheric, riverine and oceanic transport, biological transformations, the biological pump and the multiple interactions between biota and organic pollutants. We encourage communications including new methodological approaches such as gene and molecular tools and new modelling strategies. This session aims to gather research from environmental chemistry and microbiology, ecotoxicology, modeling and science at the interface of these fields.
Chemicals in Plastics and Synthetic Rubbers: Quo Vadimus?
Plastics and synthetic rubbers pervade in almost every single aspect of our modern life. They offer many benefits (e.g., low production costs, longer shelf-lives of many food items, light weight durable materials). However, the current linear make-use-dispose economic model and a lack of proper holistic management have resulted in serious environmental and societal issues (e.g., marine plastic pollution, unsustainable exploitation of natural resources). As of 2015, 8300 million tonnes (Mt) as of virgin plastics have been produced globally, of which 6300 Mt have become waste with only 9% recycled. Regarding synthetic rubbers, up to 500.000 tonnes of car tire debris are emitted into nature yearly on a European scale alone, with soil and waterways being the major sinks. Therefore, initiatives have been commenced to keep the benefits of plastics and synthetic rubbers while reducing and eliminating their undesired societal and environmental impacts, with a focus on improving collection and recycling. However, many challenges remain in the current system, preventing the successful transition to a circular economy. In particular, a large variety of problematic chemicals may present in current plastics and synthetic rubbers. Some of them may interact with the polymers and lead to technical difficulties in recycling of these materials. In addition, some others are hazardous, many of which may be persistent enough to contaminate recycled materials, causing continuous and possibly wider leakage into the environment and human exposure during their multiple lifecycles (e.g. brominated flame retardants in plastics, PAHs and heavy metals in synthetic rubbers). To date, there is no clear overview of problematic chemicals present in plastics and synthetic rubbers. Therefore, it is critical to identify and remove problematic chemicals from primary plastic and synthetic rubber products to create clean, circular material cycles. This session aims to provide a platform for international experts from academia, industry, governments and civil society to share recent and ongoing progresses in the understanding chemicals present in primary and secondary plastics and synthetic rubbers. New developments in analytical techniques, physicochemical properties, hazardous properties (e.g. persistence, bioaccumulation potential, (eco)toxicity and long-range transport potential), occurrence and exposure routes, risk assessment and management options are focus of this session. Ultimately, it aims to highlight critical future research needs to enable recycling and reuse while minimizing/eliminating exposure to harmful chemicals threatening our health and the environment.
Complex mixtures in the environment: Monitoring, fingerprinting and assessment
There is increasing need to fingerprint, monitor and assess complex mixtures of chemicals in the environment including known and unknown anthropogenic and natural compounds, as well as their transformation products. Much progress has been made within the last years in the development of novel tools for unraveling, monitoring and assessment of such mixtures. This progress provides for a paradigm shift from individual compounds to chemical and toxicological fingerprints related to human activities and sources of pollution, which can then be related to adverse outcomes on organisms and ecosystems but also to mitigations measures. Important approaches to deal with complex environmental mixtures include multi- and non-target chemical screening, effect-directed analysis, in vitro and in vivo toxicological profiling, pattern analysis and multivariate statistical approaches to unravel and group chemical and toxicological signals and to find links between contaminant mixtures, as well as techniques to predict mixtures in the environment. This session will bring together analytical and computational studies and approaches dealing with complex mixtures on all kinds of matrices (air, water, sediments, soils, biota, passive samplers) from terrestrial, freshwater and marine systems. Examples and suggestions to improve and expand such approaches into solutions-oriented monitoring and assessment (according to WFD and other regulations) are very welcome.
Disinfection byproducts and oxidation byproducts: Analysis, fate, toxicity and treatment
The use of oxidants or disinfectants in water treatment is practiced in a variety of different applications. These various applications include the chlorination of industrial waters to prevent biofouling, the disinfection of ballast waters to avoid the transportation of invasive species, the disinfection of drinking water and swimming pool water to eliminate infectious microorganisms, and the oxidative treatment of wastewater to eliminate micropollutants. Disinfectants/oxidants such as chlorine, chloramines, chlorine dioxide, and ozone are commonly used in water treatment. However, water treatment with disinfectants can form byproducts known as DBPs or oxidation byproducts (OBPs), many of which are considered toxic. Water treatment must be optimized to achieve the goals of the involved oxidative or disinfection processes while minimizing the formation of DBPs and/or OBPs. The formation of DBPs and OBPs and their release into the environment is an issue of concern because of the potential of these compounds to induce adverse health and environmental effects. This session will focus on the latest research findings about DBP and OBP analysis in drinking water, wastewater, swimming pool water, industrial water, and ballast water. The session will tackle recent advances in analytical chemistry particularly in the use of high-resolution mass spectrometry in targeted and non-targeted screening, which have significantly enhanced our ability to identify DBPs and OBPs. Moreover, the session intends to present new data about the fate of DBPs and OBPs once released in the environment as well as the latest findings regarding their toxicity and environmental risk assessment. In addition, the session will cover treatments that can be used to minimize or eliminate DBPs/OBPs. The anticipated audience of this session includes environmental chemists, toxicologists, engineers, as well as regulatory agencies.
Ecological impact and management of dumped munition sites
Discarded military material is present worldwide in seas and oceans. Apart of safety concerns, such items can be a source of pollution to marine environment, and affect benthic habitats. Dumped or unexploded ordnance contains a number of harmful substances – ranging from toxic elements, such as Arsenic, Mercury and Lead, via carcinogenic explosives up to actual Chemical Warfare Agents. Chemical munitions were produced in mass during first and second world wars. During second world war, they were never used in battle in the European theater, and in other areas of the world their use was very limited. This resulted in an excess amount of chemical munitions, which are very difficult and costly to destroy. In many cases, those munitions were dumped in sea, which created an environmental problem for future generations. In the case of Baltic Sea, the amount dumped is around 40 000 tons, with additional 200 000 tons dumped in Skagerrak Area. Globally, chemical munition dumpsites are located also in North Sea, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Adriatic and many other sites in various seas. Conventional munitions are also dumped in mass in many marine areas of the world, and degradation products of explosives are known toxicants. Since remediation of areas containing both conventional and chemical munitions is progressing very slowly, there is a need to consider their impact on environment and management options, in order to keep ecological situation under control. At the moment studies on discarded military material are scattered. The aim of this session is to bring together studies on new approaches in munition studies, which could effectively track the impact of dumped munitions on environment – including biota, sediments and water column. Presentations will focus on several areas: -Release and transformation of explosives, metals and warfare agents to benthic environment, – Modelling of release and transport of munition constituents – Impact on biota, including acute and chronic toxicity, biomarker effects, ecological impact based on community studies and models. Session will include also management approaches – remediation strategies, impact assessment and classification of threats.
Environmental Monitoring and Risk Assessment of UV filters in Aquatic Environments
Concerns over the environmental impacts of UV filters have received considerable attention in recent years. Of particular concern has been the potential of certain UV filters to cause coral bleaching. These concerns have led to the introduction of state and county level legislation in Hawaii regarding the banning of certain UV-filters in sun protection products. While the use of UV filters as active in sun protection products is widely documented, the ability of these materials to filter UV radiation means these materials are also used in several non-OTC drug applications. These include uses in plastic and apparel, in which the photoprotective properties of UV filters protect against photodegradation of structural components and pigments. Multiple potential point and diffuse environmental sources of UV filters exist, such as bathers and swimmers, wastewater treatment plants and leaching from plastic debris and clothing fibers. Once UV filters enter the aquatic environment their fate depends upon a number of processes, such as degradation and partitioning into different environmental matrices (e.g. sedimentation). The presence of a particular UV filter in the environment also raises the possibility that it will exert ecotoxicological or physical effects on marine biota. The possibility of a UV filter bioaccumulating in aquatic organisms, or exerting effects on various biological functions (for example, endocrine-mediated impacts) also exists. However, the presence of a UV filter does not mean that it will be available for uptake into an organism or if it will negatively impact the organism. If effects are observed at environmentally relevant concentrations, then a UV filter may pose an unacceptable environmental risk, which then needs to be managed. The current session explores sources, occurrence and concentration in water, sediment and biota, fate and effects of UV filters in the aquatic environment (freshwater and marine). The aim of the session is to advance our knowledge of the risk that such materials may pose and start a scientifically grounded discussion on the implications of this.
Linking models, experiments and measurements to reliably investigate the environmental fate and effects of hydrophobic organic contaminants and mixtures
Hydrophobic contaminants are used in a broad range of applications from personal care products to heavy industry. Persistent hydrophobic contaminants are widely recognized for their potential to bioaccumulate and potentially affect ecosystems. Such pollutants do not only include legacy pollutants, such as PAHs, PCBs, Dioxins, and DDTs, but also emerging contaminants, such as organophosphate and organohalogen flame retardants, PFASs, chlorinated paraffins, and pharmaceuticals. Based on their physico-chemical properties they have low solubilities in water and air, and tend to sorb to soils, sediments, various fractions of biological media, and to mobile particles. This makes the investigation of (long-range) particle-facilitated contaminant transport important. There is particularly a knowledge gap on the mechanisms of the mass transfer between particulate bound and freely dissolved contaminants. The sorptive properties of these chemicals are also leading to conceptual, technical and analytical challenges in the laboratory, and standard tests and international guidelines are often not well suited for determining the physico-chemical properties, bioaccumulation factors and degradation kinetics for these chemicals. Furthermore, their hydrophobicity leads to high partitioning into biological membranes and potentially to toxic effects at very low aqueous concentrations. Beyond single substances, mixtures of hydrophobic organic chemicals include a wide range of petroleum products, essential oils, and isotopic mixtures of industrial chemicals. Experimental approaches are challenging as defined exposure concentrations accompanied by analytical conformation has to be provided. In particular, it remains very challenging to assess and test chemicals and mixtures that are (1) hydrophobic and volatile, (2) highly hydrophobic (Log Kow > 6) and (3) composed of hydrophobic and/or volatile chemicals. Detailed studies on the lab scale are not sufficient if the environmental fate and behavior should be described thoroughly. Consequently, this session also covers current developments and advances in measuring strategies with a particular focus on passive sampling approaches for all environmental compartments to determine the exposure to single substances and mixtures. Consequently, this session aims to explore adequate methods for a reliable assessment of fate and effects of highly hydrophobic chemicals and substances, which are additionally volatile or unstable. Furthermore, we aim to explore experimental techniques to study (de-)sorption kinetics, bioaccumulation potential, and environmental fate of hydrophobic contaminants and their mixtures in multi-phase settings. The data from such experiments can be applied to develop process-based models to understand the mass transfer processes, which drive the distribution of an extensive selection of contaminants. All these various approaches and steps are needed to compose adequate schemes to simulate, understand, and predict the fate and effects of hydrophobic contaminants and mixtures from the molecular to the global scale.
Mass spectrometry screening strategies for evaluation of human and environmental exposures: Where are we going and what have we learned?
Targeted contaminant monitoring methods provide exquisitely sensitive and quantitative tools for surveillance of well-known chemical hazards, but only a small percent of chemicals in commerce have ever been monitored by these highly specialized and resource intensive techniques. With growing interest in environmental causes of disease, and the need of chemical regulatory agencies to evaluate risks for thousands of old and new chemicals, nontarget and suspect-screening mass spectrometry approaches are now emerging for unbiased small-molecule monitoring of human and environmental samples. For this, the use of high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) is essential. New and unexpected emerging organic contaminants of concern (EOCs) are also now being discovered in environmental samples that have long eluded detection by target methods (including metabolites and/or their transformation products (TPs) of commonly monitored target compounds). Considering the high number of chemicals in use today, and the numerous transformation reactions possible for each, a vast number of compounds could end up in the environment. The goal is not to detect and identify everything, but by employing modern tools, suspect screening, non-target workflows, and chemoinformatics, many important EOCs may be discovered and prioritized for future monitoring. Similarly, new transformation products may be discovered in laboratory batch experiments which could also be prioritized for future target monitoring. However, many challenges remain for suspect and non-target workflows, including sample preparation steps, chromatographic and mass spectrometric techniques, quantification methods, and techniques for unknown feature identification. This session invites scientists interested in discovery and identification of novel substances or novel transformation products in human and environmental samples. Various strategies for study design and suspect and non-target method development are of interest, including technical advancements, new and improved library databases, software, and recent applications to environmental and human samples for better understanding of old, emerging and novel contaminant exposures and risks. Therefore, if your work is described by some of the following keywords, you are welcome to contribute to this session: environmental and human exposure, transformation products, metabolites, biomonitoring, LC and GC-HRMS, emerging contaminants, target-suspect-non-target screening, wastewater treatment plants, surface water, exposure biomarkers, by-products, biodegradation and/or photodegradation.
Mercury biogeochemistry and global environmental change
Mercury (Hg) is a natural occurring trace element often present at very low concentrations in abiotic compartments. In the atmosphere, elemental mercury can reach a few ng.m-3 and has the capacity for long-range transport. Inorganic Hg is the predominant form in water (ng.L-1), sediment and soil (mg.kg-1) and in low trophic positioned organisms (ng.kg-1). Top predators, including humans can bioaccumulate larger quantities of methylmercury. The biomagnification process of Hg is a primary concern as methylmercury is a potent neurotoxin and poses a serious threat to wildlife and human health. Past and current anthropogenic activities have disrupted the global Hg biogeochemical cycle, increasing its remobilization and ambient concentrations in several ecosystems. Moreover, mercury exposure and cycling is not independent of global climate change and related disturbance regimes (i.e. permafrost melting and episodic events including hurricanes, fires and flooding). This session welcomes studies improving our understanding of the biogeochemical cycle of Hg and its effects on organisms, including humans, in the context of environmental change. We are interested in creating a platform to address issues on i) the development of new analytical methods to measure and assess Hg speciation in abiotic and biotic compartments, ii) the understanding of abiotic and biotic processes controlling the Hg geochemical cycle and their implications for modeling and iii) the elucidation of factors driving Hg bioaccumulation in heterogeneous environments. Governmental and non-governmental agencies as well as private-sector and academic researchers are welcome to share their case-studies results and fundamental research to highlight our knowledge gaps on Hg source, fate, transport and effects.
Micro(Nano)plastics Pollution: Sources, Occurrence, Fate and Determination Methods
Small plastic particles (SPP) are ubiquitous in the environment having been found in aquatic systems, soil and air. In the environment plastics may suffer multiple degradation processes and form increasingly smaller-sized particles, such as microplastics and nanoplastics. In addition, an increasing number of consumer products (e.g. food, drink, personal care products) have also been reported to contain these particles, increasing the potential of human exposure. Although a considerable amount of research is being performed to understand the risks associated with SPP exposure, the available studies with particles in the low micro and nanometer range are scarce, due to technical challenges (e.g. isolation, quantification and characterization). Considering that plastic particles comprise of many different polymers, sizes, shapes, and chemical composition, all with different physico-chemical properties, an adequate characterization is essential for proper evaluation of sources, effects, mechanisms of action and long-term consequences. A decrease in particle size increases its bioavailability and potential threat to soil and aquatic organisms, but also presents challenges for their characterization. This session aims to bring together researchers of different backgrounds (e.g. toxicologists, analytical chemists) working on different matrices to review and discuss the current understanding of the risks posed by SPP alone and combined with other environmental contaminants, address new and improved methods for accurate sampling, detection, and characterization of SPP and highlight key knowledge gaps. Overall, this session welcomes studies providing empirical data of SPP presence and distribution in environmental compartments; transport pathways and factors that affect their distributions; methodologies for accurate sampling, detection and quantification; methodologies for evaluating its effects on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems as well as on humans. All data, from environmental samples and toxicological studies to laboratory exposures that provide knowledge on SPP interactions with environmental contaminants, are acceptable and valued. This session will provide an important and timely outlet for emerging research on SPP pollution, and fits well with the overall meeting theme of Environment, Health, and Sustainable Societies. Submissions on how best to assess and address microplastic pollution from a technical and policy perspective are also welcomed.
Modelling and monitoring of pesticides fate and exposure in a regulatory context
Modelling and monitoring of fate and exposure of pesticides (incl. biocides) in the regulatory context is under continuous development in Europe as well as other regions of the world. Development of new models or the adjustment of existing models like changes in parameterization or scenarios are necessary due to new scientific knowledge and aim to a more reliable risk assessment for regulatory decision making regarding the protection of the environment whilst significant uncertainties remain. Monitoring campaigns of chemicals and metabolites are initiated to evaluate chemical status in different environmental compartments, whereas the questions on the regulatory context and implications of findings remain. The session will a) focus on the outcomes of recent developments on fate modelling under different regulations like new guidance documents, requirements and model developments. For example new guidance documents and scientific opinions on exposure assessment in soil, groundwater and surface water of pesticides have being developed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). These shall be presented to and discussed by stakeholders from academia, regulatory authorities, industry and consultancy. For biocides, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) have the role of coordinating the European peer review process and have an increasingly important role in the associated development of risk assessments and emission scenarios documents in this area. New model or scenario developments shall be presented considering the spatial and temporal variability of the exposure and fate of pesticides in different environmental compartments. b) look at other regions of the world environmental risk assessment schemes, including modelling and their current developments and/or revisions (for pesticides e.g. in China, Latin America). A global exchange on exposure assessment principles (including modelling and scenario development) is warranted and it is the intention to bring together the latest developments in the regions of the world for different use classes of chemicals. c) provide a platform to discuss and exchange monitoring programs and results in the light of regulatory use. Modelling results shall be compared to monitoring data in order to allow an evaluation of their conceptual basis in relation to protection goals, which quite often may only be implicit in the underlying legislation. The regulatory use of fate models and scenarios for pesticides shall be discussed in the light of targeted experiments or representativeness analysis as well as survey monitoring results. The suitability of generic regulatory exposure scenarios and the development of tailor made scenarios shall be discussed alongside rules for their evaluation in a regulatory framework. As the scope of this session covers various chemical use classes, it is intended to focus the contributions in subsections, which are specific enough to attract the specialists but are linked and associated to foster the exchange between different scientific and regulatory communities.
Multi-pathway exposure to neonicotinoids and the implications to ecological and public health
Neonicotinoids (neonics) have become the most widely used insecticides in the world since their introduction in the mid-1990s, and yet the extent of human exposure to neonics and the impacts to ecological and human health were not fully understood until recently. The current literature clearly documents the ubiquity of neonics in soil, groundwater, pollen, fruits, and vegetables, and its adverse effect is not limiting to pollinating insects as originally reported, but to aquatic and non-aquatic vertebrates and invertebrates as well. This session is aimed to gather researchers from the world to present their works in assessing multi-pathway exposure to neonics, ecological impacts of neonics, and the implication of neonics to public health. This session is also welcoming presentations focusing on research in public policy implementations on regulating neonics uses.
New developments in the science of vPvB and PBT assessment
The assessment of the Persistence, Bioaccumulation and Toxicity (PBT) of the many thousands of chemicals in commerce is a global effort supported by the scientific and regulatory communities in the EU, Canada, US, Australia, Japan and many other countries. This assessment process is a cornerstone of the sustainable environmental stewardship of chemicals. REACH and the regulations on plant protection products (PPP), biocidal products (BPR) or (veterinary) medicinal products (VMP) aim to identify PBT and vPvB chemicals and to adopt effective regulatory measures. The need for a unified approach under different regulations for identifying and regulating PBT and vPvB chemicals has been recognized. In 2017, version 3.0 of the REACh guidance R.11 was published, in which several new aspects and new screening threshold criteria have been implemented. This session will discuss new and existing methods for the measurement and the assessment of the persistence (P) and bioaccumulation (B) of chemical substances. Emphasis is on methods that address current knowledge gaps and limitations and can enhance a weight of evidence approach to P and B assessment. Important issues for persistence are the evaluation of non-extractable residues (NER) (as either safe sink or potential hidden hazard), and how to assess the persistence of UVCB substances. Important issues for bioaccumulation are methods that improve bioaccumulation assessment including the use of in-vitro methods for biotransformation assessment, kinetic modelling and quantitative structure activity relationships. The aim of this session is to offer a platform for a balanced discussion with input from academia, regulators and stakeholders for presenting and discussing new scientific information and knowledge on the topic of PBT assessment, i.e. identifying of PBT/vPvB chemicals especially substances with long-range transport potential (LRTP) and long-term damage potential. This purpose of the session is to (i) inform the scientific community of the needs of the regulatory community on the topic of PBT assessment; (ii) inform the regulatory community of new scientific findings, methods and thinking; (iii) provide input and guidance for the development of a weight of evidence approach to PBT assessment and evaluation that has general application. The session will be subdivided into three topics, the status of the persistence and bioaccumulation assessment, the update on new insights regarding screening and simulations studies, and on new regulatory approaches. The session will not only address the status of the science but also encourage identification of further research needs from both a societal and regulatory perspective and how to translate relevant properties into effective, concern-based regulatory strategies.
New insights into chemical exposures over multiple spatial and temporal scales
Current methods used to assess chemical exposures are insufficient to accurately establish the impacts of chemicals on human and ecosystem health. For example, exposure assessment often involves the use of averaged concentrations, assumes constant exposure of an organism and focuses on select geographical regions, individual chemicals and single environmental compartments. A combination of tools in environmental scientists’ toolbox can be used to address these limitations. This session will therefore include presentations on experimental and modelling approaches to better understand environmental exposures of humans and other organisms to chemicals over space and time, and the drivers of such exposures. We welcome submissions from the following areas: 1) Applications of novel approaches such as source apportionment, wireless sensor networks, drones and citizen science to generate and understand exposure data over multiple spatial and temporal scales, 2) Advancements in assessing exposures to multiple chemicals and from different land-use types, as well as the impact of an organism’s differing interactions with its environment, and 3) Quantification of chemical exposures at regional, continental and global geographical scales. This session aims at advancing efforts to combine models and measurement to better assess environmental distribution and exposure to chemical contaminants, reducing ubiquitous exposures and risks to public and environmental health.
Organic Micropollutants in Urban Waters
This session will focus on the inputs, the fate, the mass flows and the processes, controlling concentrations of organic micropollutants, such as pharmaceuticals, biocides, personal care products, flame retardants, and plasticizers in urban waters. In this context, urban waters include e.g., drinking water, wastewater, stormwater as well as urban surface and ground water. In these systems, a multitude of processes occur: on the one hand they occur in the engineered parts of the urban water systems while others occur in its natural parts. The engineered processes mainly cover biodegradation, chemical transformation (i.e. changes of bonds in molecules), as well as phase transfer (e.g. sorption to sludges, sewer sediments, activated carbon or biofiltermaterial) in e.g., sewer systems, wastewater treatment plants and stormwater treatment facilities. The removal by natural processes are of high relevance as they also can change the concentrations as well as the structures of the respective pollutants, in particular through transformation reactions (e.g., photodegradation and biodegradation), phase transition (sorption to sediments, soils, and man-made materials), and volatilization. In conclusion, emission scenarios from diverse sources, mechanisms and observations as well as innovative methods to describe processes in urban waters will be discussed during this session.
Passive sampling-based bioavailability measurements to characterize the fate and effects of chemicals in solid matrices
Understanding and quantifying the bioavailability of potentially hazardous organic chemicals (persistent organic pollutants or POPs, pesticides, biocides, pharmaceuticals, antibiotics, personal care product chemicals and mixtures hereof) in solid environmental matrices (as soil, sediment, sludge, biota) are important factors in fate characterization and thereby in chemical risk assessment. Although this is an active area of scientific research, regulators have only recently started to include bioavailability within retrospective risk assessment and remediation frameworks while implementation in prospective risk assessment is still rare. The benefits of bioavailability measurements for risk assessment, however, are evident: (i) strongly sorbed fractions, less-accessible for biota, are dealt with in proportion to the risk they pose, (ii) bioavailable concentrations correspond directly to the aqueous phase concentrations, which are much more clearly defined and controlled compared to e.g. soil and sediment phases, (iii) related aqueous phase concentrations can be readily assessed using aqueous Environmental Quality Standards (EQS), which are based on much richer data sets than soil bioassays, (iv) sampler concentrations or free aqueous concentrations account for risk assessment based on chemical activity, and (v) improves the performance of remediation activities as the bioavailable fraction of the chemical is the most crucial part to be handled for an effective remediation. In that context application of passive sampling in equilibrium results in measurement of freely dissolved concentration or chemical activity representing the bioavailability by using the concentrations in the sampler material. Moreover, when applied in between environmental compartments, the activity ratio between the compartments lead to understanding of underlying environmental processes facilitating the transport of contaminants within the media and also allows assessment of potential bioaccumulation. The session has two main objectives: (i) to present and discuss recent methodology developments in this field and (ii) to identify and provide scientifically-based methods to consider bioavailability issues during fate characterization and risk assessment, regulation and remediation of contaminated sites. Contributions are welcome on measuring approaches of bioavailability in sediment, soil, suspended particulate matter, sewage sludge, and biota representing a wide range of environmental matrices that are important for the fate and distribution of organic pollutants and as well their joint effects in the environment; mechanisms controlling bioavailability, in particular for strongly sorbing emerging contaminants; methodological issues (e.g., chemical and biological methods for measuring bioavailability to predict fate and potential effects); linking the chemical activity in matrix/sampler/water to toxicity; novel methods and ideas regarding evaluation of the obtained analytical data by nontarget screening approaches and pattern analysis of temporal/spatial data to broaden the range of chemicals investigated; implementation in risk assessment and risk management; communication needs (message simplification, verification) and bioavailability-oriented remediation strategies (e.g. depletion of weakly sorbed fractions, lowering chemical activity).
PMT Substances in the Aquatic Environment: Scientific, Analytical and Regulatory Issues
Polar substances are expected to be widely distributed in the environment. We only have information on a fraction of these substances, because the most mobile contaminants in the aquatic environment are the most difficult to measure. Persistent, mobile and toxic (PMT) substances could pose widespread, critical health and environmental threats. The threat could increase if the substances are very persistent and very mobile (vPvM). Once emitted into the environment, these substances can move and remain circulating in the water cycle for long periods of time. They likely migrate to the sources of our drinking water. The same intrinsic substance properties that make them persistent in the environment and mobile in the aquatic environment might hinder – during water treatment processes – their degradation by ozone and UV or their retention via filtration using activated charcoal. The aquatic environment and more critically, drinking water resources are particularly vulnerable and require a high level of protection. In Europe, drinking water is obtained mainly from groundwater, surface water reservoirs or river bank filtration. If these environmental compartments are exposed to hazardous chemicals, drinking water may become contaminated. The substances we are concerned about are both persistent and polar (= mobile). The aim of this session is to stimulate the exchange between specialists in fate and transport of contaminants, exposure assessment, water monitoring and analytic on the one hand and experts in hazard assessment, risk mitigation and regulation on the other hand. We encourage contributions on the identification and prioritisation of PMT substances. We aim to acquire new information that can help manage and regulate their threats. Contributions could reflect why emissions in the aquatic environment should be minimised. We aim to discuss possible improvements of the protection of drinking water resources through the extension and enforcement of EU´s chemical regulations (e.g. REACH). This session is open to all contributions addressing any aspect related to PMT/vPvM substances, including: trends in industry production, identification and analysis, environmental fate, physical-chemical properties and their estimation, toxicity and ecotoxicity, improving risk or hazard assessments, risk mitigation strategies and last but not least regulatory options. Talks on individual case studies and substances are encouraged to link to the broader topic of PMT/vPvM substances in general.
Recent approaches in establishing linkages between exposure science and the environmental effects of trace organic contaminants
Quantifying the exposure of trace organic contaminants is necessary for assessing their risks to non-target organisms. Several advancements in analytical chemistry techniques and bioanalytical methods have improved the understanding of the fate and transport of these substances in the environment. Not only that target compounds are quantified, their potential biological effects on non-target organisms can also be specified using bioanalytical techniques (e.g., bioassays). More recently, suspect and non-target screening methods using sophisticated analytical methods (e.g., high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry) further expanded the trace organic contaminant monitoring efforts to unidentified substances including transformation products. However, this progress is not matched by parallel time resolution and quantification in effect studies. Especially in vitro assays that are used for testing of water quality typically rely on nominal concentrations but do not account for variable chemical exposure. This will become important for quantitative in vitro to in vivo extrapolations (IVIVE) when in vitro assays are used to predict the risk for organisms. For whole organism bioassays, toxicokinetic or physiologically based pharmacokinetic models can additionally provide predictions that are helpful in establishing the linkages of exposure conditions to potential adverse effects in the wild. Hence, a combination of several techniques in exposure science is vital for monitoring trace organic contaminant dynamics in the aquatic environment and in organisms that were inadvertently exposed (e.g., fish, invertebrates). This session intends to attract interdisciplinary studies with a strong focus on the combination of advanced analytical methods with bioanalytical tools or modelling studies. The topics associated with this session include (but not limited to): field monitoring and modelling of trace organic contaminants and their mixture effects using bioanalytical tools to enhance risk assessment, scientific efforts to link chemical exposure to environmental effects, and the role of chemical, bioanalytical, and modelling approaches in advocating future hypothesis-based monitoring frameworks.
Something in the air: are airborne microplastics a novel environmental health issue?
Microplastics are a global environmental issue contaminating aquatic and terrestrial environments. Recently, they have been reported in atmospheric deposition, and indoor and outdoor air, indicating they are airborne. This raises concern for public health due to the potential for exposure via inhalation. However, very little is known about airborne microplastics, including spatial and temporal concentrations; chemical composition; and, importantly, whether they occur in the inhalable size range. This is partly due to the complexity of airborne particulate matter (PM), which consists of a diverse range of particles, presenting an analytical challenge. The associated health effects of PM are well-established and can follow occupational exposures, e.g., mineral fibres, but are primarily associated with road transport and fuel burning emissions. However, as global pressure to reduce such emissions increases, PM composition is likely to shift. In combination with a predicted increase in plastic use, especially in the textile sector (4%/year), the proportional concentration of airborne microplastics will become increasingly important. It is therefore timely to establish baseline knowledge of global airborne microplastic burdens and begin to understand what their potential role in PM-associated health effects might be. This session welcomes contributions which address this novel challenge, particularly, research which assesses atmospheric microplastic concentrations and characteristics (size distribution, shape, chemical composition); ambient microplastic exposure concentrations (both outdoor and indoor); airborne microplastic dispersion; bioaccumulation and toxicity post-inhalation; and work which aims to establish robust, standardised methodological approaches to this research challenge.
State of the science on emerging and novel poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs)
To date, poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) have attracted increasing attention as emerging global contaminants of high concern due to their high persistence, potential adverse health impacts, and ubiquitous presence in the global environment, wildlife and humans. Numerous studies and control actions have been, and are being, made to understand and reduce the environmental and human exposure to many legacy PFASs, in particular certain long-chain perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) and their precursors. This phase-out of long-chain PFAAs and their precursors was an important step toward solving the global environmental concerns related to this substance class, but further efforts are still needed, as elevated levels of many other emerging and novel PFASs have been detected in the environment, wildlife and humans. These emerging and novel PFASs include: [i] legacy PFASs other than long-chain perfluroalkyl carboxylic acids (PFCAs) and perfluoroalkane sulfonic acids (PFSAs) and their precursors, e.g. perfluoroalkane phosphonic and phosphinic acids (PFPAs and PFPiAs), perfluoroalkenes and their derivatives, side-chain fluorinated aromatics, and perfluoroalkylamines; and [ii] alternatives to long-chain PFCAs and PFSAs and their precursors that are still PFASs, e.g. shorter-chain PFASs and perfluoroether-based substances including perfluoroether carboxylic and sulfonic acids (PFECAs and PFESAs). Currently, some of these emerging and novel PFASs are increasingly being studied, revealing evidence of the potential of these substances for causing harm to the environment and humans. This session aims to provide a platform for international experts from academia, industry, governments and civil society to share recent and ongoing progress in the understanding of emerging and novel PFASs, regarding analytical techniques, physicochemical properties, hazardous properties (e.g. persistence, bioaccumulation potential, (eco)toxicity and long-range transport potential), occurrence and exposure routes, risk assessment and management options (including remediation technologies). Ultimately, it aims to identify and highlight future research needs and thus formulate a roadmap for prioritizing and accelerating future actions.
The environment as a reactor determining fate and toxicity of nanomaterials
Nanomaterials may enter the environment through a variety of processes, including, for instance, direct application or release, runoff from (agricultural) fields to aquatic systems, recreational activities, and via waste water treatment effluent and sludge. Nanomaterials undergo a range of chemical, physical and biologically-driven changes at all stages of their life cycle: from formulation into products, during the application of nano-enabled products, during use or as a result of aging, and following disposal or treatment in waste treatment plants, meaning that the nano-forms that are released at these stages differ from the pristine structure and composition. Further changes may occur once the nanomaterials reach the environment. As a consequence, the nanomaterials are likely to reach biological targets in complex and as-yet unpredictable forms. The different available forms will have different organismal uptake rates and the structure of nanomaterials may change further during biological processing following uptake (e.g. in the gut). It is crucial to understand the processes and transformations occurring throughout the life cycle of a nanomaterial in order to proceed with an accurate risk assessment and implementation of science-based regulation. Therefore, understanding to what extent the environment acts as a global reactor, with several small-scaled reactors at the individual compartment / organism level, is paramount. This will affect the environmental fate and speciation of nanomaterials and the complexity of the forms relevant for environmental hazard and risk assessment. This could mean dealing with multiple forms from one product, but where “reactor processes” transform numerous materials in similar ways or to similar exposure relevant environmental forms there may be potential for grouping (based on transformation chemistry). As our knowledge increases, development of functional assays designed to assess rates of transformation, and to determine the dominant transformation pathways, is enabling more robust testing of the compartment-relevant forms of nanomaterials. This session aims to cover studies that can provide a step forward towards addressing the data requests laid out in the new Annexes of REACH, specifically those on nanomaterials exposure characterization, looking at processes that induce changes in nanomaterials right from their release from products through their biological uptake and handling. The session seeks presentations looking at several potential “reactors” including waste water treatment plants, environmental compartments (air, soil, sediment, and water), abiotic and biotic key-actors, soil and aquatic organisms. Emphasis will be on chemical and biological processes that change nanomaterials and consequently affect their fate and environmental speciation (e.g. dissolution) as these will be crucial to obtain insight into exposure and toxicity to organisms. Understanding how the formation of a biomolecule corona changes the properties of nanomaterials and consequently the way they interact with organisms, and how the biomolecule composition of different environmental reactors drives the corona composition and effects is also to be explored. Toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic modelling will provide a crucial input on the role of biota as a bio-reactor that can also induce speciation changes or storage in an inert form. Studies linking aspects of nanomaterial exposure, time, uptake, internal processing and mechanistic effects will be especially welcomed, as well as those on approaches for assessing or predicting nanomaterial transformation under different conditions.
The indoor environment: emerging contaminant identification, analysis and quantification for exposure assessment
Worldwide, people spend the clear majority of their time indoors where they come in close contact with a wide variety of chemicals that are part of building materials and products used in everyday life such as personal care products. Various types of Chemicals of Emerging Concern (CECs) like dirt and water repellents, flame retardants and plasticizers can be emitted from construction materials, electronic equipment, carpets, textiles, flooring and furniture through evaporation or abrasion, e.g. small particles breaking off from foam, textile fibers, etc. The complexity of the indoor environment is determined by the numerous sources of substances, where some of the substances are used in multiple applications and with different functions. From a human perspective, inevitably, exposure to chemicals in the indoor environment occurs, through inhalation of air, dermal uptake and ingestion of house dust and through hand-to-surface-to-mouth contact. The latter especially for young children that have frequent hand-mouth contact. Variability in human habits and practices is also a key determinant in exposures. There is a requirement to develop and test methods for quantifying exposures to humans in indoor environments as well as the potential for adverse effects that may result from these exposures. This session addresses the identification, analysis and quantification of chemicals present in the indoor environment, including analytical chemistry as well as process- and effect-based tools. Topics include quantitative target analysis of known compounds and qualitative suspect / non-target screening using high resolution mass spectrometry as well as the application of effect-based tools for toxicity characterization and Effect-Directed Analysis for identification of CECs. In addition, this session addresses human exposure modeling (processes) to simulate the fate of chemicals in indoor environments and intake rates and internal human exposures. Models are required to integrate the measured monitoring data (air, dust, surface concentrations) with biomonitoring data (blood, urine) and to address data gaps, i.e., predict exposures in the absence of measured data, for human health assessment. Models need to be tested (evaluated) to foster confidence in their application in regulatory programs. Research studies that combine measurements and modelling are most welcome.
The overlooked hazard of small creeks - elucidating the input and fate of organic (micro-)pollutants in streams
Rivers reflect fluxes of water, sediment and solutes from a whole catchment and integrate emissions and fate of pollutants therein. Pollutants are emitted via point and diffuse sources, and underlie further in-stream processes like transformation, sorption processes, and sedimentation. In addition, different environmental parameters (e.g. temperature, UV light, discharge, flow velocity) determine the chemical and effect pattern of the catchment. Small creeks are especially affected by high pollutant concentrations due to their low discharge, wastewater inputs that are relatively high, and often very dynamic and seasonal pollutant emission pathways. Although small streams represent about 70-80% of the global river network, they remain hardly investigated and the hazard of these small creeks and their living organisms is often overlooked. Furthermore, laboratory studies on attenuation processes typically cannot account for the diverse pollutant mixtures, varying chemical inputs, and environmental controls. Consequently, the results cannot be transferred directly to in-stream conditions. Identifying sources and key parameters that govern the physical, chemical and biological processes related to catchment scale pollutant dynamics in rivers thus require sophisticated monitoring, analytical and bioanalytical screening methods. This session aims at highlighting recent advances, strengths and uncertainties in sampling approaches, in chemical and bioanalytical screening methods but also in mathematical modelling of the pollutant behaviour in small streams. Topics include but are not restricted to: • Characterization and distinction of input sources of pollutants into small streams (point vs. diffuse, surface vs. subsurface) • Effects of natural attenuation and transformation processes on the chemical profile along stream • Parameters controlling attenuation and degradation processes (hydromorphology, biology, geochemistry) • Method development for pollutant sampling, screening analysis in small streams and (process-based) mathematical models
Towards a sustainable development of river-sea systems (RSS) and coastal areas
Coastal areas and river-sea systems (RSS) are complex ecosystems and valuable socio-economic resources that support fundamental activities ranging from aquaculture and fishing to tourism. The need to study and manage coastal areas and RSS is well recognized and has become one of the major challenges for the 21st century. These important ecosystems are strongly susceptible to anthropogenic stresses, including eutrophication, altered morphology and the release of micropollutants, such as persistent organic pollutants (PCBs, PBDEs, BFRs…), trace elements and emerging contaminants (nanomaterials; plastic litter, microplastics and nanoplastics; emerging per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals; illicit drugs; marine toxins; and pharmaceutical compounds; among others). In the current context of global change, climate change-related phenomena may mitigate or exacerbate the effect of these environmental stressors on living organisms. This session should be seen as an open forum to bring to light the various contaminants and environmental stressors that may affect RSS and coastal areas. Aspects of interest include: – Integrated research along the freshwater/marine water continuum to better understand natural processes, their vulnerability to climate change, and biogeochemical cycles of contaminants and nutrients (especially under extreme hydrological events). – The occurrence, fate and behaviour of legacy, classical and emerging contaminants. Experts in environmental and analytical chemistry are invited to discuss the analytical strategies that allow to push down the limits of detection of their methods in seawater, marine sediments and biota. – The ecotoxicological and/or -omics effects of contaminants under fluctuating exposure conditions and in realistic settings, as well as the ecotoxicological and ecological consequences of physical modifications of morphological RSS features and associated habitats. – The potential for (emerging) contaminants to bioaccumulate and biomagnify along with the role of bioaccumulation as an indicator for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
Trace Metal Biogeochemistry in Coastal and Estuarine Ecosystems
Coastal ecosystems receive trace metals from a variety of diffuse and point industrial sources often resulting in bioaccumulation and toxic outcomes for organisms and food webs. As such trace metals can affect the health of ecosystems and ultimately human health. Significant advances have been made to quantify trace metal cycling in freshwaters, however the processes controlling metal fate in salinity transition zones are not well known. Estuarine ecosystems are often co-located with major cities and areas of highest chemical contamination. These systems also tend to be highly biologically productive and are key habitat for both spawning fish and migratory birds; therefore, these systems have global environmental and economic importance. While coastal ecosystems are important to environmental health they have dynamic physical and chemical characteristics that make them challenging to study. Coastal and estuarine ecosystems are highly variable and biodiverse with fluctuating changes in organic matter, salinity, and speciation of metals. These fluctuations may enhance or inhibit trace metal uptake and subsequent bioaccumulation. This conference session has international importance as it focuses on the biogeochemistry of trace metal-sensitive areas in costal ecosystems. This research session has particular significance for Helsinki, as coastal ecosystems are critical to the environment, economy, and culture of Finland. The research presented will aid the implementation of national policy and the development of risk management strategies for industrially-impacted coastal areas. This work is critical to the health of all Europeans, with direct impacts to populations that rely on these coastal ecosystems. We welcome posters and platform presentations examining the speciation, bioaccumulation, and toxicity of trace metals in estuarine and marine-influenced systems globally. We plan to invite 2 or 3 high profile presenters to speak as part of the session (e.g. Elsie Sunderland – Harvard U., Robert Mason – U. Connecticut, Derek Muir – Environment Canada, Katarina Gardfeldt – U. Gothenburg, Sweden). We also anticipate the development of a special journal issue dedicated to the presentations in this session.
Advances in Soil Ecotoxicology and Risk assessment - Impact, Ecotoxicity tests, Monitoring and Risk assessment of soil stressors
Soil, a precious and finite resource which provides a habitat to flora and fauna as well as the fertile basis for food security, is under increasing anthropogenic pressure. Examples of this include soil sealing, chemical soil pollution, loss of organic carbon, nutrient imbalance, loss of soil biodiversity, compaction and erosion (FAO & ITPS: Status of the world’s soil resources, 2015). In recognition of the effects of stressors on soil, the United Nations Environment Assembly adopted a resolution calling for using science to address soil pollution within the environmental, food security and agriculture, development and health agendas; including by setting norms and standards and by strengthening and promoting research and development (UNEA 3 resolution 6, 2017). To this end, we need to constantly assess whether current ecotoxicity and risk assessment regimes offer sufficient protection of soils for it to deliver crucial ecosystem services. Soil ecotoxicology has produced a series of standardized test methods, used in environmental risk assessments, which are increasingly employed as regulatory guideline studies. There is, however, still a need to evaluate whether available standardized test methods are adequate to: capture the intended metrics (e.g., population or community level, species diversity of soil microorganisms and functional aspects); address how soil properties influence bioavailability and toxicity; allow the integration of semi-field and field studies; and reflect ultimate protection goals. These include, but are not limited to, ground sealing, various stressors (e.g., chemical, non-chemical, single or multiple) on soil and soil functions, concepts for monitoring effects, and strategies for prospective risk assessment. We also need to assess if there are any new developments in ecotoxicity testing, which will enhance our understanding of threats to soils e.g., the concentration of microplastics in soils and their effects on soil functions or effects of temperature elevation or desiccation. We welcome abstracts that demonstrate the successful integration of data generated by new as well as standardized test methods into ecological risk assessment for emerging or legacy substances. We would like to showcase new developments within soil ecotoxicology; advancements in our understanding of exposure (bioavailability) in risk characterization; relevant measures of biodiversity (long-term impacts vs community recovery); and examine the drivers of ecosystem services relevant to soil protection. This session will aim to review the evolving field of soil ecotoxicology and broaden the view to approaches at all scales of terrestrial ecosystems risk assessments.
Applications of Bayesian network models for environmental risk assessment and management
Bayesian network (BN) models are being increasing used in applied research fields such as conservation biology, fisheries biology, ecological status assessment and natural resource management, and have become popular tools in European research projects. The development of user-friendly BN software programs has made this methodology more easily accessible. BN models are typically used to predict the probability of specific outcomes under different scenarios, and therefore have a great potential for supporting environmental risk assessment. BN methodology is still not commonly used in ecotoxicology, but recent past presentations at SETAC have witnessed a high level of interest in the use of BNs also within this field. In response to this interest, a dedicated session on Bayesian networks for environmental risk assessment is proposed to encourage productive discussions about opportunities, challenges, best practices and innovations. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to: prognostic vs. diagnostic use; combining different types of data and information; use of expert judgement and participatory modelling; handling of uncertainty and natural variability; multiple stressors and their interactions; prediction under scenarios of climate change; quantification of adverse outcome pathways; uncertainty and sensitivity analysis; evaluation of model performance. We welcome case studies from all fields of environmental research, and encourage participation from scientists across different career stages and experience levels. Presenters should emphasize the relevance of their Bayesian network modelling for ecotoxicology and ecological risk assessment.
Approaches and criteria for identifying chemicals of greatest concern - Current and novel risk-based methods for legacy chemicals to emerging contaminants
Over the past six decades, there has been recognition and concern for those chemicals with the greatest potential for widespread environmental impacts by virtue of their toxicity, persistence in the environment, ability to biomagnify up food chains, and to be transported around the globe. International agreements have sought to identify and control these highly hazardous chemicals. For example, the U.S.-Canadian Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement of 1978 sought the virtual elimination of persistent toxic substances. The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (2001) seeks to protect human health and the environment from chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods (persistent), become widely distributed geographically (long range transport), accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and wildlife (bioaccumulative), and have harmful impacts on human health or on the environment (toxic). In Europe, the REACH regulations (2006) on chemical management seek the substitution of persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) substances and very persistent-very bioaccumulative (vPvB) substances where suitable technically and economically viable alternatives are available. However, there is limited measured eco/toxicological and environmental fate information available which may be used to characterize most chemicals in commerce and a heavy reliance on quantitative structure property/activity relationships (QSP/ARs) to predict chemical fate and transport, bioaccumulation and ecotoxicity. There have been criticisms that hazardous chemicals are being detected in the environment as new emerging contaminants and that adequate mechanisms do not exist to properly characterize chemicals before they are widely used in commerce often because of data limitations. Equally, there are criticisms of false positives due to limitations of assessment criteria which results in overly precautious characterization or restriction. Consequently, in recent years questions have been asked about the ability and appropriateness of assessment criteria to identify and prioritize chemicals of concern. There is also a global discussion started as to whether highly hazardous chemicals can be safely used at all in commerce in ways that avoid environmental impacts. The present session is intended as a reflection on progress in the field since SETAC Pellston Workshops on related topics in 1998 and 2008. We therefore invite speakers working on new approach methodologies (NAM) or novel screening criteria that might be used for the identification and prioritization of chemicals of the highest ecological concern. The session would particularly benefit from risk-based approaches to prioritization, that is, those that include considerations of use pattern, use volume and potential exposure to the subject chemical. Additionally, we invite speakers investigating methods for characterizing the uncertainty in chemical prioritization approaches or criteria as a means to understand the impact of false positive and false negative outcomes while aiming for balanced accuracy.
Biomonitoring of Heavy Metal Atmospheric Pollution using Trees and Plants
This session will focus on biomonitoring for atmospheric pollution of heavy metals using trees and plants. This topic expands and shifts the paradigm of biomonitoring atmospheric pollution from the more conventional, but problematic, use of mosses and lichen. Note also the chairs of this proposed session include a junior women scholar, Dr. Valentina Rimondi, from the University of Florence, which promotes SETAC’s efforts to support promising junior researchers. There is growing interest in monitoring heavy metal pollution due to the adverse effects of these elements on human health and environmental quality. As a result, new methods making possible the observation of their presence in the environment are constantly sought. Methods based on the use and installation of sophisticated instruments in the field are expensive and complex. By contrast, biomonitoring can be generally sustained with low expenditures and in regions that lack conventional monitoring networks. Indeed, biomonitoring is often perceived by the public as more reliable than monitoring accomplished by technical devices, because the latter are generally positioned on site for relatively short periods and are not able to integrate long period effects, and because technical monitoring devices are subjected to failures that limit confidence in data acquisition. Among different biological indicators, tree and plant tissues still have a relatively small niche when compared to other more widely used substrates, such as mosses and lichens. The major disadvantages in the use of lichens are the slow regeneration rates, the irregular and patchy distribution, and the relatively weak tolerance to mycophytotoxic pollutants. Consequently, intensive sampling may lead to their reduced availability. In addition, a specialist able to differentiate between similar-looking species should do lichens sampling. These limitations become more pronounced in industrial and densely populated areas, where severe anthropogenic pressure may cause scarcity or even lack of indicator species at some sampling points. An alternative/complementary methodology relying on plant tissue, for example, is represented by tree barks. Tree bark is an excellent adsorbent of airborne pollutants, including toxic metals. In addition, they are usually available in large amounts and the sampling is generally facilitated by a straightforward species identification, sample treatment, and ubiquity of some genera, which makes it possible to cover large areas. In spite of these potential advantages, until recently the use of tree barks for environmental monitoring was not widespread. This session intends to address this gap and highlight new and promising plant-based methods to assess heavy metal atmospheric pollution, including the well-recognized need for a commonly accepted biomonitoring sampling protocol in order to make the results more reliable and comparable.
Can regulatory risk assessment protect wildlife?
Currently, pesticide risk assessment procedures in the EU consider individual birds and mammals in reproductive life stages as protective/indicative of the potential risk to all terrestrial vertebrates. At the same time, the intention is to preserve all types of vertebrate wildlife in agricultural lands. However, recent evidence indicates declines in, for example, many farmland birds. Hence, methodologies to assess potential risks to terrestrial vertebrates other than birds & mammals and during other life stages than reproductive adults are in development or under discussion (e.g. for young in the nest, for reptiles, for amphibians in terrestrial phases, and for bats or birds on migration). To develop and execute these methodologies, additional data are necessary. ‘New’ field methodologies to gather data for wildlife ERA, as well as reports of relevant data and proposals for wildlife ERA can be topics to be presented in the session.
Contaminated sediments: an understudied environmental compartment
Aquatic ecosystems contain billions of tons of contaminated sediments, making sediments the largest chemical repositories on earth. With improved surface water quality, sediments now act as potential sources of toxicants, threatening aquatic ecosystem health. Consequently, sediment is the most relevant environmental compartment to link ecotoxicological effects to compounds. Nevertheless, contaminated sediments remain largely overlooked and understudied relative to assessments of water quality. The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) mentions water on 373 occasions, but mentions sediment only seven times, and the directive does not require the member states to monitor sediment quality. Evidently, investigations into the effects of sediment contamination lag behind research on the water column and this represents a significant scientific and regulatory challenge. The need and possibilities for innovative research that can result in significant scientific progress in the field of sediment toxicology are numerous. Therefore, this session welcomes contributions on sediment contamination and sediment quality assessment, from a chemical, ecotoxicological and ecological point of view, particularly those that integrate these aspects. Understudied aspects of sediment toxicology are highly appreciated, including but not limited to: a.o. in situ exposure; effect-based quality assessment; ecosystem functioning; the role of bioturbation activity in mobilization of sediment-associated contaminants; the potential application of rooting macrophytes in sediment quality assessment; chemical analysis of suspected targets; advances in passive sampling to assess bioavailability of sediment-associated contaminants; the link between passive sampling and bioaccumulation; innovative sediment toxicity testing methods, including passive dosing techniques, choice of model organisms and test sediment and key sediment parameters to report; contaminated sediment regulation and management.
Difficult to test substances: challenges in testing, interpretation of data and fulfilling information requirements under different regulations
The environmental data requirements under different regulations have evolved following the scientific developments in ecotoxicology as new tools and improved methodologies have become available. Consequently, the use of old studies performed decades ago has become a challenge in terms of regulatory acceptance. Questions concerning quality or changes in the test guidelines that have adapted to advances in laboratory methods, analytical chemistry or statistical tools are common. In addition, selection of the test species and test methods to ensure an appropriate representation and protection of a certain compartment or taxa for hazard and risk assessment is often complex. There is now the requirement embedded in any relevant EU regulation that vertebrate studies should be avoided and be performed only when fully justified. Thus, increased use of in vivo non-animal tests such as embryo-based systems and in silico methods, e.g. QSARs are promoted. This changes and further complicates testing and assessment strategies to derive appropriate endpoints for hazard or risk assessment. Agreement on the required degree of certainty to enable regulatory decisions needs to be defined. In addition, in any chemical substance group, there are often difficult to test substances that pose inherent challenges caused by their physico-chemical properties. The lack of generally agreed approaches forces industry and regulators to face the complexity of having to use tests following different protocols and principles, as well as data from the public literature. This inevitably leads to less consistency amongst assessments, regulations and regulated substances. In contrast, there is also an expectation that non-testing methods, adaptation of test methods or other tests can be used to complement the standard information requirements for a substance in a weight of evidence approach. This session aims to give regulators an opportunity to present their needs in terms of data quality and highlight the key areas for improvement. For industry and research institutes the session aims to discuss new methodologies that could improve the quality of (non-)testing and to overcome certain methodological or interpretational issues. In addition, to providing an opportunity to present the problems and complexities encountered when following certain test guidelines. We would like to focus on difficult substances; specifically, what are the problems when testing such substances when trying to fulfil the regulatory needs. We seek submissions in the following areas: • improving the conduct and interpretation of ecotoxicological laboratory tests for chemical substances with an emphasis on complex, difficult substances and mixtures • adaptations to test methods to overcome problems when performed for complex, difficult substances and mixtures • the use of non-testing approaches to compensate deficiencies in certain studies to enable fulfilling information requirements in a weight of evidence approach • novel approaches to assess toxicity of in situ generated substances and mixtures for hazard and risk assessment • the views from regulators across the globe on how they face the challenges when assessing these substances
Ecotoxicology of wastes: regulatory situation and testing experiences
For about 15 years the evaluation of the hazard properties of waste materials have been intensively discussed in the European Union. Generally speaking, two general approaches can be applied in this context: on the one hand, the individual waste materials are evaluated by using their chemical composition based on the methodology for Classification, Labelling and Packaging of substances and mixtures (CLP). On the other hand, standardized ecotoxicological tests (ISO or EN standards) are used to measure the effects of waste eluates and solid wastes to different organisms. Recently the European Union has adopted the regulation 997/2017 defining how to determine the HP 14 criterion and confirming that CLP is the “standard approach”. This regulation also stated that if results of ecotoxicological tests are available their outcome overrules the CLP based evaluation. Not surprisingly, both waste owners and waste regulators are unsecure on how to evaluate the ecotoxicity of wastes in practice. From the theoretical point of view, it is difficult to evaluate complex mixtures such as wastes according to the CLP approach as often neither the detailed composition of the respective waste sample is known nor the interactions between the various components. Moreover, ecotoxicological concentration limits ecotoxicity values are not available for all waste components, limiting the applicability of such an approach. From a scientific point-of-view, ecotoxicological tests are the most suitable approach, but the existing regulations are not sufficient: neither the test battery to be used nor the evaluation of the test results is fixed so far. In this session, we want to bring together the different stakeholders involved in the HP14 evaluation of wastes: waste producers to talk about their experiences when determining the ecotoxicity of their wastes, regulators – preferably from different countries – to present their interpretation of the existing regulations regarding the HP14 criterion, and practical experiences, especially case-studies. In short: in this session, we invite contributions that demonstrate the pro`s and con`s of the different approaches, e.g. in terms of case. Finally, and appreciating the amount of knowledge gained in trying to evaluate the hazard potential of complex mixtures such as wastes, we would like to see examples on how experiences gained in waste testing could be used for other complex mixtures as well.
Effect modelling for regulatory risk assessment: current applications and future directions
Regulatory risk assessment for chemicals depends on information about expected exposure levels in the environment and relevant effect thresholds. While exposure levels in regulatory risk assessment are often predicted by using modelling approaches, this does not yet apply for the derivation of effect thresholds. Despite effect modelling approaches have been developed and applied in the last years to increase our mechanistic understanding of ecotoxicological effects, effect models and predictions of effect thresholds are rarely used in regulatory effect assessment. Possible reasons in addition to the implicit inertness of regulatory systems include missing modelling standards, fragmentary model documentation, too few convincing examples, and open questions around the reliability of predictions. The use of effect modelling results in risk could overcome some of the limitations of experiment-based effect assessment in ecological risk assessment, namely the restrictions of experiments in time and space, the practical limitation of experiments to a few exposure or environmental scenarios or the limitation of risk assessment to some few standard test species. In addition, broad regulatory frameworks such as REACh have a high demand for standard toxicity data, but at the same time they promote the use of non-animal methods to create this information, to reduce testing on vertebrate animals, hence computational methods are much needed to fill data gaps. The number of effect modelling studies in the context of prospective terrestrial or aquatic environmental risk assessment for non-target organisms is increasing, and standards for design, documentation and testing have improved considerably in the last years. Nevertheless, more applications of ecological models, including TK-TD models for lethal and sublethal effects, population modelling studies and landscape scale models are urgently required for the development of a common understanding of the reliability of such model predictions and of quality criteria for their use in regulatory risk assessment. Equally, examples of predictions of toxicity across substances by e.g. quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSARs) or chemical grouping and read-across approaches are required in combination with assessments of their reliability to further develop them as a potent tool under e.g. the REACh regulation. In this session, we invite studies to present state-of-art in effect predictions and their application under different regulatory frameworks. Effect modelling enhancing the mechanistic understanding of ecotoxicological effects at different levels of biological organisation and allowing the derivation of regulatory acceptable effect thresholds for untested combinations of species and chemicals are welcome, as well as examples investigating applications and reliability of QSAR and related predictions.
Fate and Effects of Metals: advances in metals risk assessment and regulatory guidance
Regulations in Europe (e.g., REACH, CLP and WFD) have been the impetus driving the last 15 years of research examining the hazards and risks of metals in the environment. This has resulted in the development of new approaches to reduce the uncertainty associated with estimates of metal fate and toxicity in soils, sediments and aquatic environments. Examples include bio-availability models, fate models, evidence on extrapolating laboratory data to field conditions, etc. The application of these advances in science and modeling of metals in aquatic and terrestrial environments can contribute to pollution prevention, appropriate regulations, relevant environmental quality targets, and achievable risk management decisions. The focus of research on metals has expanded to include assessment of mixture toxicity, prediction of toxicity in tropical environments, and bioaccessibility in humans. Additionally, tools have been developed to implement advanced scientific principles into routine risk assessment and management processes. For example, guidance for implementing advanced risk assessment approaches for metals in water has been developed which will allow for more environmentally realistic compliance checking under the EU Water Framework Directive. This session will review, through case studies, the significant advances in the science related to metals and related regulatory initiatives and how scientific developments can contribute to more realism, and less uncertainty, in regulatory assessments of metals.
How to achieve good quality of surface water and sediments for pesticides and which further regulations and mitigation strategies are needed?
Ecological risk assessment is the basis for the risk management of products to be placed on the market. The aim is to avoid adverse effects in the environment. In the last years, especially the contamination of surface waters and sediments are discussed and concentration have exceeded water quality criteria such as the regulatory acceptable concentration (RAC) and the environmental quality standards (EQS). This calls into question the national risk mitigation strategies of chemicals. Further risk mitigation measures are needed to protect the aquatic systems sufficiently. This session aims to present strategies and measures to be taken to reduce the entry of chemical into surface waters. We like to evaluate which are the key pathways of chemicals entering surface waters, measures taken, and how these measures might be implemented in risk assessment and national risk management plans. Ecosystem provide specific ecosystem services. Policy maker aim to guarantee these services as part of the environmental management. We like to discuss the role of ecosystem services in decision making to enhance the protection of surface waters.
Human health and environmental risk assessment of chemical mixtures: moving towards the non-toxic environment
While approaches for the assessment, management and mitigation of the impacts of local pollution from singular events and point sources are largely agreed upon and widely applied on a routine basis, the assessment of diffuse complex pollution scenarios is still a major challenge for science, environmental policy and chemical management. Meeting this challenge is critical for achieving the aim of a non-toxic environment, as outlined in the 7th European Environmental Action Plan. It will require to move away from a narrow focus on individual pollutants, coarse acute individual or population level end points, the exclusive consideration of single emission sources and exposure routes towards a broader, more holistic approach. Standard instruments for chemical risk assessment and management, such as Environmental Quality Standards (EQS), Predicted No Effect Concentrations (PNECs) and even Acceptable / Tolerable Daily Intakes (ADI / TDI) need to be modernized and embedded into mixture-aware regulatory frameworks. Also, the current strategy for priority setting is too often focused on identifying individual priority pollutants. There is therefore an urgent need to identify “archetypal” mixtures that result from common emission scenarios, in order to develop more realistic priorities for chemical management. The session aims to provide an overview and critical reflection of the current debate, to identify gaps and bottlenecks. On the one hand, the session aims to present and analyze the specific situations in the different regulatory arenas (e.g. REACH, the Biocide and Pesticide Regulations or the Water Framework Directive), using conceptual analyses or evaluations of specific case studies. On the other hand, cross-cutting, conceptual analyses are also highly welcome, especially if they link between human and environmentally oriented assessments. We invite presentations that analyze the issue from the perspective of all the different stakeholders (academia, industry, regulators, NGOs). The session has be successfully run at previous SETAC meetings, always attracting a sizable crowd, indicating that the topic is of particular relevance for the SETAC community – which is hardly surprising, given the fact that even preliminary monitoring data over and over confirm that organisms are typically exposed to a complex mixture of various toxicants from various sources.
Human health risk assessment of the environmental development and transfer of antibiotic resistance
The development of antibiotics for control of infectious disease is acknowledged as one of the greatest public health accomplishments of the 20th century. Likewise, the inability to treat infections as a result of the emergence and growth of antibiotic resistance is recognized as a top public health threat today. The United Nations Environment Program identified the environmental dimension of antibiotic resistance as one of its top six emerging issues of environmental concern with global implications in its Frontiers 2017 report. International attention to the threat of antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARBs) has led to an expanding scope of surveillance beyond the clinical setting into a variety of environmental media. In addition, analytical techniques have improved greatly to permit the detection of antibiotic resistant genes (ARGs) in those same environmental samples. The present session is intended to focus on the process for human health risk assessment of antibiotic resistance in the environment with an emphasis on interpreting data regarding occurrence of ARBs and ARGs in environmental media. We invite presentations which address conceptual models for describing the environmental pathways that result in increased risk of human infection with antibiotic resistant pathogenic bacteria and the elements within those models such as identification of adverse outcomes, key events in that pathway and initiating events. Additionally, presentations regarding tools and approaches for interpreting data regarding occurrence of ARBs and ARGs in environmental media in a human health risk context are encouraged. Potential policy implications of data interpretation are of interest such as considerations of selective pressure for development of ARBs that environmental residues may impart and the extent to which such information should be considered in the approval of new medicines and other chemicals. Case studies from beyond the European continent are most welcome.
Innovations in Biological Strategies for remediation of contaminated environments
The use of green technologies such as bioremediation and phytoremediation for removing from soil and water ecosystems organic and inorganic pollutants, emerging contaminants (e.g. pharmaceuticals, microplastics) and chemical mixtures can be an effective, cost-competitive and environmentally friendly alternative to the thermal and physico-chemical technologies more traditionally used. This session will deal with this topic from different point of views. Examples of applications both at lab and field scale will be displayed. Moreover, the effectiveness of different treatments (e.g. compost, biochar, use of bio-surfactants, microbial fuel cells, etc.) in biostimulating contaminant degradation and the selection of bacterial strains from environment for bioaugmentation purposes will be illustrated and discussed. The bioavailability of potentially hazardous organic contaminants (persistent organic pollutants or POPs, pesticides, biocides, pharmaceuticals, etc.) in soil and sediment is an important issue to be investigated for understanding and improving the bioremediation strategies. Therefore, contributions on bioavailability-oriented biological treatment of soils, sediments or waters are also welcome. Finally, the potential combination of bioremediation strategies (e.g. phytoremediation) with providing valuable sources of renewable biomass, in line with the sustainability criteria of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) will be discussed. For example, the biomass cultivated for plant based remediation purposes in metal polluted soils can be thermally treated (combustion, gasification, torrefaction and pyrolysis) and used as potential fuel (biofuel, bioliquids) for obtaining bioenergy.
Recent developments in the use of biosensors for chemical and environmental risk assessment
The environmental water monitoring is one of the priorities at the European and global level due to the close relationship between the environmental pollution and the human health and the socioeconomic development. Traditional analytical methods applied for the chemical and environmental water monitoring of pollutants require expensive reagents, time-consuming sample pre-treatment and analytical techniques, specific expertise and expensive equipment. In addition traditional techniques are not effective in the case of acute poisoning for an accidental release of contaminants. Thus, there is an increasing need for more sensitive, rapid, cost-effective tools to detect these pollutants and estimate the environmental and human risks associated with the release of large quantities of toxicants. Biosensor is known as a powerful monitoring tool, due to several characteristics: sensitive, cost-effective, in-situ, fast, smart, easy to operate, real-time and portable. This session aims to communicate advances towards different aspects of biosensor application for environmental water monitoring of organic pollutants, potentially toxic elements, and pathogens, including: optical, electrochemical, magnetic, piezoelectric based biosensors; antibody, enzyme, nucleic acids, aptamer, microorganisms, tissue, natural products, molecular imprinted polymers based biosensors. The session scope includes the extrapolation of effects in biosensors to reliable risk estimates for the environment and human health. The session will focus also in designing, fabrication and optimizing of sensing systems presenting examples of different support materials, platforms, lab-on-a-chip, miniaturization of biosensors, disposable biosensors and will address analytical performance and response to environmental parameters such as pH and temperature. The scope of the session also includes the conjugation of biosensor with other methods that can have an important role in improving and extending their design and the application such as passive sampling, nanotechnology and drones. In particular, the combination of biosensors and drones are needed in remote sites due to their low-cost, compactness, and low power requirements. Since routine monitoring with the recent environmental biosensors is still hampered by the difficulty in reproducibility in real environment, this session is inviting especially presentations of case studies in real environmental conditions such as water samples (lake, river, seawater, soil and wastewater samples) or biota samples, and commercial applications of biosensors as early warning systems and for real-time monitoring, in situ monitoring, as well as their manufacturing and markets.
Remediation of soils and methods for evaluating the biological activity of humic products
The session is focused on the strategies of soil mitigation and evaluating of amendments products. The session program will cover the aspects related to the analysis of stability of properties and quality of humic preparations used for the sorption of pollutants and increase of fertility in agrocenoses, for the remediation of technogenic disturbed natural objects, in restoring the ecological functions of soils, cleaning disturbed territories and water areas in areas of responsibility economic entities. It is sense to discuss the topical issues and modern achievements in bio-diagnostics of the activity of humic products of various geneses, including their compositions with the microbial preparation, biochar, nanoparticles, etc. Particular attention need to pay to the elaboration the reliable approaches to the biological assessment of the quality of humic preparations, the development of reference samples (“reference samples”) for comparing the activity of humic preparations from various raw materials sources (coal, peat, sapropel, lignocellulose, etc.), the relevance of the certification problem commercial humic products, comparison of biotesting technologies traditionally used in different countries, information on methods for evaluating the biological activity of humic substances using standardized test cultures of different taxonomic and trophic groups. This session also welcomes the results of research on the mechanisms of action of humic substances on living cells, plants and microorganisms in terrestrial and aquatic biotopes, analysis of physiological effects of humic substances in complex agro-adaptogens and in joint application with chemical plant protection products, antioxidant activity of humic substances.
Scientific advancements towards risk assessments, their frameworks and the implementation of alternative strategies to animal testing for nanomaterials
Nanomaterials (NMs) are now well-established in the marketplace worldwide. With their widespread use and application it is of the utmost importance that frameworks are built to ensure the responsible assessment of the hazard and risk they may present and support the development of safe approaches. Furthermore, regulations must implement specific legislative requirements with accompanying guidance and communications to ensure the responsible assessment of nanomaterials before release to market. This ensures safe use for workers, consumers, and the health of the environment as well as the sustainable and responsible application of nanomaterials. For nanomaterial frameworks, standard guidelines and regulatory triggers must be updated in order to account for their differing intrinsic properties compared to their bulk or ionic counterparts. The assessment of environmental and human health hazard can only be conducted when appropriate methodologies have been used to assess toxicity. Considering the current scientific advancements and direction of regulatory frameworks, the use of new in vitro, QSAR and read-across methodologies are important, but the relevance and appropriateness to nanomaterials must be addressed before their use in risk assessments. Further, to assess risk/safety of nanomaterials there needs to be robust tools for the realistic prediction of exposure to humans and in environmental compartments, as well as the appropriate methods for the derivation of derived no effect levels and predicted no effect concentrations, respectively. Currently no well-established exposure models exist for nanomaterials and it is not known if current assessment factors used during risk assessments to derive no effect levels/concentrations are appropriate. There are also knowledge gaps concerning release factors and the most relevant physical-chemical and environmental fate parameters to use for modelling purposes. The ability to suitably parametrize exposure models will allow for the tiered approach to exposure predictions, facilitating realistic exposure and risk assessments as well as the identification of exposure routes and compartments of concern. With comparatively little knowledge of expected release during the manufacture and use of nanomaterials the parameterization and validation of these models presents a great challenge. Against this background, the presentations within this session will focus on activities in relation to risk assessment of NMs at the research-industry-regulation interface concerning: i) Approaches to hazard assessment; ii) Approaches to exposure assessment; iii) Approaches to risk assessment; iv) Assessment of the appropriateness of classic approaches to NMs v) Regulatory risk assessment approaches and frameworks.
State-of-the-art approaches, latest developments and future needs in regulatory risk assessment of biocides and veterinary medicines
This session aims to present the latest developments in the regulatory risk assessment of biocides and veterinary medicinal products (VMP) highlighting subjects relevant to both sectors. The topics may cover hazard, exposure and risk assessment, but the session welcomes also presentations related to risk management and regulatory procedures. The experience gained over the last years shows that challenges are often shared across regulatory sectors and the solutions developed may be used across sectors. This session intends to cover both current methods and on-going developments, as well as identifying and advising the scientific community on future needs. For instance, presentations on the regulatory procedure, information requirements and how data is applied in the assessment could provide a background to the current status of the risk assessment. Examples of recent developments may cover updates of environmental exposure assessment tools and development of new exposure scenario documents. Topics related to the future needs could include for instance landscape level assessment and Specific Protection Goals (SPG) in the environmental assessment of VMPs and biocides. New approaches to the regulatory assessment and/or processing such as grouping of substances might bring advances into the current regime which is largely based on a single substance approach. The grouping approach could be an example of a concept that can be applicable to both environmental as well as human health risk assessment. Using the knowledge base across regulations, there is potential to harmonise, facilitate and enhance the regulatory assessment while reducing resources and improving consistency. VMPs and biocides are an example of this. However, the session could be relevant for other substances such as REACH chemicals and pesticides as well since the basic information requirements, risk assessment methodologies and general protection goals have shared similarities under the different regulatory frameworks. In addition, the same chemical substance may be regulated under a number of regulatory frameworks. The perspectives of stakeholders in academia, industry and regulation are sought in order to share developments and to benefit from the technical advances acquired by the different stakeholders.
Statistical Science and Ecotoxicology: Bright Lines and Dark Alley Ways
The ability to reliably infer something from a sample to an entire population is central to ecotoxicology. To date, the only scientifically defensible way of doing this is using the principles and procedures of statistical science. Yet despite the importance of the environmental decision-making process, the nexus between statistics and ecotoxicology is diffuse at best and counter-productive at worst. While the trending buzz around terms like ‘big data’, STEM training, reproducability and p-values have recently thrust statistical sciences into the spotlight, rather less has been said and done about improving the ways in which statistics can support better environmental risk assessment and decision-making. This session aims to encourage a diversity of views, experiences, and suggestions concerning: (i) the role of statistical sciences in ecotoxicology; (ii) statistical training requirements for ecotoxicologists; (iii) methods of improving the linkages between the two disciplines; (iv) cautionary tales from the past; (v) cross-cutting technologies; (vi) current needs; and (vii) future trends. Presenters will be encouraged to discuss these topics in the context of case-studies and examples drawn from their own research and project work. We particularly encourage salutary tails from the past and signposts for the future. Possible topics include, but are not limited to: • Exposure-Response Modelling • Species sensitivity distribution inference and estimation • Design and Analysis of ecotox. experiments • Use of Bayesian techniques • On-going statistics education – the need for accreditation? • Taking a position on the ‘p-value’ debate in the context of ecotoxicology • Big data / little data issues • Reporting results • Ecotox. and the R statistical computing environment • The relevance of power and sample size calculations in ecotoxicology, and the value of negative results • Experiment-wise error control in mixture toxicity testing and other multiple hypothesis testing scenarios
The fate, effects, and mitigation of oil spills on aquatic and marine environments
The effects of oil spills on aquatic and marine environments is a global concern. The damage caused by oil spills to local ecosystems may depend on factors such as the type and volume of the spill, the substances released, the location, the time of year, the organisms affected and other factors. The types of oils drilled, refined and transported vary greatly in their characteristics, making both environmental risk assessments, and selection of oil response strategies highly complex. This session will examine new developments in tracking the fate and transport of chemicals from oil spills, as well as applying new approaches to assessing their biological and ecological effects in ecosystems. Emphasis will be given to new developments in toxicological screening methods, developments in monitoring techniques of chemical constituents and biological systems, and tracking toxic effects at the population and ecosystem level (e.g. adverse outcome pathways). We invite presentations that advance our understanding of the impacts of oil spills on freshwater and marine ecosystems, as well as presentations that discuss mitigation strategies to reduce these impacts.
Tire wear particles - environmental presence, fate and effects
Although recognized since the 1970’s, the problems related to marine, and subsequently freshwater, microplastic (MPs) has been subject to renewed focus in the last decade. Furthermore the ecotoxicological implications of MPs resulting from both physical damage and/or chemical damage of leached (e.g. additives) and adhered (e.g. organics) pollutants have been increasingly investigated. Recent reports have shown car tire wear particles, emanating from car tire abrasion and road surface wear contributes a significant proportion of the ‘plastic soup’ in the world’s oceans. Rubber particles are likely to enter aquatic systems from a variety of sources, such as surface run-off of road dust, run-off from artificial turfs and the wear and tear of rubber pavements and playground surface systems. However, their presence is often described as ‘microplastic’ and little is known about the ecotoxicology of rubber particles and their associated chemicals. Micro-sized tire wear particles are currently considered under the umbrella of plastic debris, but based on both chemical and physical properties, and source rubber particles could, and perhaps should, be classed as a distinct pollutant. In terms of composition, tires typically consist of blends of styrenebutadiene rubber, polybutadiene rubber and natural rubber compounded with carbon black, and various other chemicals that fall within the chemical groups of PAHs, trace metals and anti-oxidants and that have been shown to leach from rubber tires. Owing to this tire wear particles present a potentially unique toxicological challenge to the aquatic organisms they encounter. The aim of this session is to showcase studies that (1) demonstrate the presence of micronized tire rubber in the environment, (2) investigate the ecotoxicological implications of micronized tire rubber and (3) promote discussion as to whether micronized tire rubber should be considered as a distinct pollutant from the general term of microplastics.
Towards a science-based risk assessment framework for nano- and microplastic
The concerns that have been raised regarding the environmental release, transport, and fate of microplastic in the environment are troubling. Addressing the concerns, which are characterized by complex scientific, political, economic, and social challenges, will require co-operation from experts from a wide variety of disciplines. Within the context of environmental toxicology and chemistry, there is a need to advance scientific understanding of the effects that microplastic represent when released to the environment, with a particular emphasis on characterizing and quantifying associated risks. A key driver for this session is a consensus that there currently exists several fundamental scientific data-gaps, which have been identified and referenced as being problematic in progressing, developing, and applying a science-based risk assessment framework. Over the last several years, however, there have been a substantial number of studies that have been progressed aimed at advancing methods to better assess exposure, both in lab-based studies and in the environment, as well as efforts to develop and apply standardized toxicological test systems to characterize effects. There thus appears to be potential to implement these new data within a risk assessment framework. This session aims to provide an opportunity to present the latest advances in both effects and exposure assessment, as well as advances in coupling effects and exposure data within a risk assessment context. Results from laboratory, field as well as modelling research are welcomed. Given recent activities within the regulatory community regarding how to best regulate microplastic in the absence of robust tools, data, and approaches needed to assess the environmental risks of microplastic, the timing of this session is seen as being particularly helpful in supporting ongoing discussions
Toxicological Considerations from Unconventional Methods of Resource Developments
Presently, there is a world-wide push to utilize oil and natural gas reserves that require unconventional extraction techniques beyond conventional well methods due to these reserves not flowing naturally to the surface from geological formations and the scarcity of conventional resources. Unconventional reserves, including oil sands, tight oil, oil and gas shale, and coal and natural gas liquefaction are being developed across North America, Africa, the Middle East, South East Asia, Europe, Russia, and China with increasing intensity. Thus, it is increasingly apparent that further research and consideration into understanding how unconventional methods of extracting these resources may affect the environment and what hazards accrue to wildlife and personnel who are affected by unconventional processes. Understanding these factors will foster more effective risk assessment and management development for these burgeoning technologies. Commonly utilized techniques to access oil and gas sequestered in unconventional reserves rely on heat, pressure and chemical additives to maximize efficiency and volume of resource extraction. Tight oil and gas, as well as oil and gas trapped in impermeable shale deposits, are predominantly accessed through hydraulic fracturing techniques, while deep oil sands reserves are brought to surface through a mixture of steam and light hydrocarbon assisted gravity drainage termed SAGD. Remote gas fields are being more widely developed and high-volume production is made possible through gas to liquid conversion technologies. As is common with most forms of energy development, environmental concerns have arisen in response to the increased global use of unconventional methods to extract resources. Some of these concerns pertain to the heavy reliance on external energy sources to bring the oil and gas to surface. Others are related to the initial chemicals used during extraction processes and/or the actual extraction processes themselves. Examples of processes-related concerns are the formation of heat which has resulted in the mobilization of metals in thermal plumes in groundwater and pressure which has increased the likelihood of anthropogenic seismic activity. Furthermore, there is considerable concern and attention to the waste which may be produced following operation completion (e.g. coke and tailing ponds associated to oil sand processes, flowback and produced waters released to land, air, and water from horizontal hydraulic fracturing activities, etc.). Often, these processes also release chemicals beyond the traditional salts-metals-hydrocarbons triad to the environment, producing yet another toxicological hazard which needs addressing. This session will focus on recent findings and emerging risks to human and wildlife from novel extraction techniques and tailings associated with hydraulic fracturing, solvent injection-steam assisted gravity drainage (SI-SAGD), cyclic steam stimulation (CSS), and liquified natural gas conversion. Presentations will focus on human and environmental health risks from air emissions from combustion of aerosols at hydraulic fracturing operations, non-saline toxicity considerations for terrestrial applications of produced water from hydraulic fracturing wastes, long term risks associated with solvent injection use to extract oil sands reserves or treated tailing pond effluents proposed to be released to the Athabasca River from oil sands surface mines, seasonal impacts to aquatic receptors from salinity, thermal mobilization of metals and groundwater contamination at CSS operations.
Wastewater effluents: How research can improve risk assessment and regulation
The majority of chemicals discharged to the aquatic environment are delivered in the form of effluents – aqueous mixtures of chemicals derived from industrial processes or the treatment of domestic sewage. Municipal wastewater treatment works are designed primarily to treat domestic wastewater and processes are therefore focussed on the treatment of biological waste material, rather than the removal or reduction of concentrations of the broad range of chemicals present in modern industrial and domestic wastewaters. Additional ‘tertiary’ or ‘advanced’ treatments may be implemented to deal with specific substances and reduce potential risks to the receiving environment, but these are often expensive to construct, maintain and operate (financial and energy). Moreover, the regulatory focus has shifted in recent years from industrial chemicals onto those derived from domestic usage (e.g. pharmaceuticals, personal care products, etc). This session will focus upon the considerable challenges which underpin the risk assessment, regulation and control of these point-sources of chemical contamination. For this purpose, high quality information is required on the composition of effluents; the characteristics of, and concentrations of substances in, the receiving environment; the sources of substances in the effluent; the effectiveness of advanced effluent treatments; and the effects of the substances (both alone and as a mixture) on ecosystems. Although this is an issue of global relevance, the systems used to monitor, control and regulate industrial and domestic sewage effluents differ among regions and countries. Some authorities focus on the overall ecotoxicological effects of effluents while others apply regulatory systems dealing with chemicals on a ‘substance by substance’ basis. In this session we invite presentations which highlight how recent insights can be used to advance, support or challenge the regulatory processes that are applied to control wastewater effluents. This may include: • Reviews of the effectiveness of regulations and procedures used to asses risk and control wastewater effluents, or substances entering wastewater systems, • Chemical monitoring of wastewater effluents and the receiving environments, • Sources of substances and potential source controls, • The efficiency of new or existing treatment technologies and/or factors that may affect the viability of such treatments, • The behaviour of substances discharged in effluents and their fate after discharge, • Population-relevant ecotoxicological effects inferred by substances present within wastewater effluents (alone or in combination), • Studies, which help to improve the resolution with which we can measure environmental change (e.g. following the introduction of new controls).
Bio-based industries: sustainability benefits from circularity and closed-loop life cycles
Circular Economy (CE) proposes decoupling economic activity from resource consumption through the implementation of closed-loop approaches in the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. This implies a transition to renewable and waste-based inputs for the production of goods and services. From the supply chain perspective, circularity implies reducing the loss of both material and value across life cycles, traditionally linear, in order to mitigate both resource depletion and emissions. In the European Union (EU), the CE Package entered into force in July 2018, with a clear focus on waste prevention, re-use and recycling. It sets a monitoring framework from production and consumption to waste management, also covering economic aspects and innovation. Another priority area in the EU is the promotion of the Bioeconomy (BE) as the part of the economy that employs renewable biological resources to produce food, materials and energy. Commercial bio-based industries however rely mainly on crop feedstocks, which can bring additional pressures on land and water. Using waste feedstocks from biological origin constitutes an opportunity to reduce production costs as well as waste treatment costs, which are often borne by local authorities and ultimately by citizens. Financial and technical concerns arise on actual recyclability potentials of waste streams and the feasibility of implementing closed-loop approaches at large scale. Recognizing the role that BE can play in the transition to a more resource-efficient economy, the original 2012 European BE Strategy was revised in 2017 to align with the CE Package and provide a stable regulatory environment for investments. Both strategies point to the need for innovation to enhance recyclability of co-products and secure access to raw materials. In view of the challenges that this can pose to business and industrial stakeholders, the goal of this session is to explore potential synergies between CE and BE, with a focus on the sustainability gains that circularity can bring to more integrated bio-based industries. We welcome scientific contributions in the following areas of research: a) LCA case studies showing the potential of bio-based industries to close loops in multiple sectors; e.g. chemicals, plastics and fibres from organic waste or sewage sludge, building materials from agro-industrial waste, advanced biofuels, biorefineries, etc. b) Organizational Life Cycle Assessment (OLCA) of companies implementing circularity and/or industrial symbiosis in resource extraction, manufacturing and services, highlighting the importance of waste collection and end-of-life options from a supply chain perspective. c) Life cycle thinking integration into other methodologies for sustainability assessments at the micro- (process or firm), meso- (inter-firm or supply-chain) and macro- (city or society) levels, e.g. material flow accounting, techno-economic assessments, ecological footprints, input output analysis, etc.
Contribution of LCA to take knowledgeable measures to reduce (micro) plastic pollution
Littering of plastics is a result of a combination of factors, the most important of which being the lack of implementation of waste-related legislation at national/regional level, the lack of proper waste management in some parts of the world and inappropriate littering behavior. In addition to littering some applications may release directly micro-plastics in the environment. LCA can help to understand where the leakages and impacts happen along the life cycles to complete the holistic environmental view of all impacts, and enable taking optimal decisions for the environment. A number of initiatives worldwide have been started or are in gestation for that purpose and found a new momentum with the Medellin call. This sessions will give the floor to representatives from industry, authorities, academics and organizations to present new applications and approaches of LCA in combination with various other environmental assessment tools (e.g. FUZZY, Risk Assessment…). Presentations could elaborate on – how to evaluate the amount of plastic ending up in the sea ( depending on life cycle stages, region, habits and waste management, pathway, transport mechanism), how to take abatement measures at eco-design level, and how to monitor progress – on the different possible impacts in sea, soils, and water and the different approaches to develop models of characterization – on the perspective of implementation in current LCA databases and software – on real cases using LCA approaches and encompassing plastic leakage to the environment
Dissipative use of natural resources in LCA : metals, minerals and plastics (marine litter)
The assessment of potential impacts of resource use in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a topic that is widely discussed in the scientific community. At present, there is neither a consensus on the safeguard subject of the natural resource Area of Protection (AoP), nor on the approach to use for modelling the impacts in life cycle impact assessment. This session focuses on the challenges related to dissipative use with accumulation and degradation of natural resources like metals, minerals and plastics in LCA and explores the feasibility of its implementation, with case studies if available, for the assessment of their environmental and socio-economic impacts. A special focus will be put on how to model marine litter in life cycle inventory analysis and impact assessment.
Environmental footprints of wood and wood based product
The rise of the bioeconomy is challenging the society to facilitate production with better environmental performance as well as solid and evidence-based policy making. European Commission adopted already in 2012 the strategy “Innovating for sustainable Growth: A Bioeconomy for Europe”, and bio-based products represent one of the three pillars of bioeconomy, along with two other pillars food&feed and bioenergy. Wood and other forestry-based materials provide a strong base for new industries of bio-based products. Evolving technologies allow innovative new wood products entering the markets, in many cases replacing established production. The environmental impacts of wood-based products are a combination of forest management procedures such as seedling production and tilling as well as wood processing. Advanced LCA methods are needed to ensure the environmental sustainability of this growing branch of bioeconomy. The dynamics of carbon dioxide in forestry and wood processing all the way to the use phase is important to cover, as well as water emissions of forestry types. Environmental performance of innovative processes for nanocellulose preparation, hemicellulose modification, products for textile industry and extraction of side streams, to name a few, should be studied in detail. LCA serves as a useful information source in eco-design processes of new products and business, but considerable shortcomings in available inventories and impact assessments still prevail. The session of Environmental footprints of wood and wood based products discusses on environmental problems related to: modelling wood material and its spatial variability, management of the forest-wood value chain’s environmental performance and biodiversity, assessment of modified wood and new innovations of wood based materials and environmental communication within wood based industry. Also case studies on new wood-based products and implementations in business are welcome.
Ex-ante Life Cycle Assessment of Emerging Technologies
Since the inception of the ISO-standards (ISO 2006) for life cycle assessment (LCA), methodological developments and practical applications have given rise to multiple approaches and modes of LCA (Guinée et al. 2018). Recent studies have been focusing on the ex-ante application of LCA to assess emerging technologies still at lab or pilot scale. Example of emerging technologies include novel chemicals or synthesis designs, and new solar-energy technologies. Ex-ante LCA methods are developing as a way to help research and development (R&D) groups, planners, and policy-makers look ahead and prioritize responsible research activities and potentially avert unintended consequences early in innovation. Policy-makers are equally embracing ex-ante LCA. For instance, the US Department of Energy is increasingly relying on LCA studies as additional information to be submitted within proposed projects, even for research at very early-stage development (e.g., technology readiness level, TRL, 3 or 4). Similarly, European funding programs supporting research to further develop technologies at early TRLs require the use of quantitative sustainability assessment tools and recommend the use of LCA to support claims related to specific environmental benefits. Existing LCA methods, standards, and guidelines are well suited to evaluate products or processes that are already commercially established, while they face practical and methodological difficulties when applied to emerging technologies. These difficulties include a high degree of uncertainty in technologies at lab and pilot scales, the use of proprietary and confidential data, the difficulty of upscaling lab-scale processes to commercial scale, and difficulties in anticipating the future technological landscape in which a technology will operate. Effective application of LCA in this context heightens the necessity to formulate guidelines, identify novel methods, improve LCA software to conduct ex-ante studies, and improve existing techniques to define future scenarios. The community of scholars working on ex-ante LCA of emerging technologies has been growing considerably at the global level. Recent contributions to the literature [see e.g.(Cucurachi et al. 2018; Cooper and Gutowski 2018; Arvidsson et al. 2017) ] have started to address the specific methodological challenges of ex-ante LCA. Additionally, novel methodological developments and case studies are regularly presented at international symposia (e.g. the International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology – ISSST), and are the objects of special issues on leading journals (see e.g. the recent special issue of the Journal of Industrial Ecology on this topic). Further research is still needed. The goal of this session is to further provide a forum to present multiple aspects of the application of LCA to emerging technologies to this upcoming community of scholars. The session welcomes contributions from the entire spectrum of methodological issues that pertain the application of LCA to emerging technologies. Appropriate topics include: • Emerging LCA methods for emerging technologies and related governance. • Integration of life cycle assessment and techno-economic assessment, market dynamics, technology landscapes and experience curves. • Software developments for ex-ante LCA. • Methodological developments specific to ex-ante approaches, including those related to handling inventory data and their uncertainty, or updating existing impact assessment models. • Novel scenario analysis and case studies, which incorporate novel methodological aspects that can be generalized. References Arvidsson, R., A.-M. Tillman, B.A. Sandén, M. Janssen, A. Nordelöf, D. Kushnir, and S. Molander. 2017. Environmental Assessment of Emerging Technologies: Recommendations for Prospective LCA. Journal of Industrial Ecology. Cooper, D.R. and T.G. Gutowski. 2018. Prospective Environmental Analyses of Emerging Technology: A Critique, a Proposed Methodology, and a Case Study on Incremental Sheet Forming. Journal of Industrial Ecology. Cucurachi, S., C. van der Giesen, and J. Guinee. 2018. Ex-ante LCA of emerging technologies. CIRP Procedia(69): 463-468. Guinée, J., S. Cucurachi, P. Henriksson, and R. Heijungs. 2018. Digesting the alphabet soup of LCA. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 23(7). ISO. 2006. ISO 14044: Environmental Management — Life Cycle Assessment — Requirements and Guidelines. Environmental Management 3: 54.
LCA and beyond - challenges in tools and interpretation to improve decision support
Sustainability is a multi-dimensional concept, involving different areas (economic, environmental and social), normative positions, and empirical knowledge. Environmental, economic and social aspects of the society interact in a complex pattern and cultural, social, political and regulatory contexts may affect their interpretation and decision making. Life cycle thinking (LCT) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) have a high potential for the support of decision making both for policy and business, from problem definition to the evaluation of decision implications (e.g. assessing the impacts of different options, supporting policy implementation etc.). Interpretation is the last stage in LCA and provides a basis for decision making and further communication. In combination with the other stages of the LCA study, this step allows set-ting results into an appropriate context and thus, an adequate interpretation of LCA results is key to ensure that a correct information of interested stakeholders and decision makers. But LCA remains a modelled system that (only) reflects key elements of real life; the model re-quires simplifications, streamlining, assumptions, filling data gaps, cross reading from other sources of information, just to name a few. Hence, decisions made in relation to scope of such modelled systems will in turn affect the results, their representativeness, scope of validity and ability to answer the research questions of the study. Past years saw a multitude of different approaches emerging in order to overcome limitations of the traditional, ISO-based LCA approach, e.g. • by including comprehensive uncertainty and variability analysis in order to better assess and situate study results; • by integrating planetary and other science-based boundaries to allow absolute assessments; • by combining LCA with traditional risk assessment (RA) based approaches or cost benefit analysis (CBA) for a better decision support; • by transforming lab-scale information in a way that allows a “fair” comparison of such new developments with current products, services, projects or larger scale systems; • by analysing the societal consequences, being the consequence of the introduction of a new material and/or product in our society. Despite all these approaches, LCA today still lacks capabilities for addressing the main char-acteristics of sustainability, which are (i) complexity (multi-sectoral knowledge, multi-spatial and time scales, multi-metrics); (ii) uncertainty; and (iii) urgency. This session invites contributions describing advancements in any of the above-mentioned ar-eas of development – describing experiences with tools, interpretation of their results and the translation into decision making. Aspects discussed can cover the role of specific approaches, highlight their strengths and weaknesses, proposed areas of potential improvement and rec-ommendations for its further development.
LCA applications and critical methodological developments for sustainable nutrition
Food consumption and production is one of the major sources of environmental impacts. Food consumption is currently fulfilling several needs of western societies, but still, provision of adequate nutrients and health benefits are the key. In the future with growing population, increasing adverse health impacts and pressure to increase food production, nutritional aspects and food safety issues need to be considered even further, also in the field of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to ensure improvements of the overall sustainability of future food systems. LCA studies on agricultural production and foods are often criticised by comparing products on mass basis or per hectare. Introduction of nutritional values into functional units of LCA appear necessary for sustainable food solutions. But, how is that done? Or are there other alternatives to combine environmental and nutritional information including both beneficial and harmful nutrients? How should food safety issues be included in LCA of foods alongside nutritional quality of food? How the scaling is carried out from LCA studies on food ingredients up to complete meals or up to diets? Are the results communicable to consumers, nutritionists, caterers or food policy experts? Furthermore, suggested dietary change, towards favouring plant-based foods instead of animal-based foods, is anticipated to affect environmental impacts of food production, e.g. biodiversity and climate impact due to changes in land use and soil carbon balance. How these anticipated impacts are assessed in the future oriented research alongside an effect of dietary change to structure and nutritional value of diet? This session welcomes discussion on the value of various nutrition parameters as functional unit for LCA as well as other related methodological solutions. Circular economy provides possibilities for industries to add value from present side flows, while food industry relies more and more on product enrichment by healthy ingredients. Methodological approaches on assessment of these enrichment processes and their impact to diets environmental and nutritional impacts would be of great interest. Trade-offs appear between cost-efficient production technologies and nutritional values of final products. Nutritional qualities of food ingredients are sometimes gradually decreased during manufacturing and storing processes. Proposals dealing with these aspects are also encouraged. In addition, predicted environmental and nutritional impacts due to change of diet that is widely called for due to high environmental load, in particular from animal production, will be discussed in this session. Papers on both methodological development and LCA applications on these issues are warmly welcomed, without excluding papers on LCA dealing with other critical aspects of sustainable nutrition.
Life Cycle Impact Assessment
The goal of this session is to exchange knowledge between LCIA method developers and LCA practitioners with respect to new development in LCIA and requirements for making them operational for decision support of industry and policy makers. Life cycle impact assessment is still an evolving field at midpoint and endpoint level. Moreover, the life cycle inventory modelling should correspond in spatial and temporal resolution with the selected impact categories. The level of maturity of impact categories varies, which poses different questions encompassing simplification approaches to cope with complexity, advanced modelling approaches considering synergistic and antagonistic effects of substance mixtures and impacts of new substances/materials. This session encompasses the entire field of LCIA: • Spatial differentiation of characterization factors for non-global impact categories in a non-standardised environment/world • Consensus approaches for harmonisation of indicators for certain impact categories • Footprint methods for specific product groups • Improvement of impact methods, e.g. in-door/out-door toxicity, eco-toxicity, land-use, etc. • Development and improvement of new or under-development methods such as biodiversity, ecosystem services, etc. • Linking LCIA with other assessment approaches such as risk assessment • Integrated interpretation of improved or new impact methods in full LCA studies • Requirements for the integration of new LCIA methods in software packages
Measuring the Sustainability of Circular Economies: the potential of LCA
The emerging concept of a circular economy offers opportunities for businesses, governments, consumers and civil society to decouple economic growth from environmental impacts. It describes a system in which the socio-economic services derived from given resources are maximised and wastage of such resources are minimised, through product reuse, recycling and valorisation. Examples of strategies under the circular economy include: the use of renewable energy and resources; development of products that deliver increased services for lower resource use (e.g through longer lifetimes or product leasing); collaborative consumption; the development of industrial symbioses in which the waste of an industry becomes the feedstock/input of others. The vision of a circular economy is increasingly part of international political and business strategies to decouple economic growth from resource consumption. Life cycle tools play a key role in assessing the economic, social and environmental impact of such strategies, which require a systemic, rather than siloed, approach. This session will explore recent methodological developments and applications of stand-alone or integrated life cycle approaches within the circular economy arena for four key areas identified in the EU Action Plan for circular economy: (i) production: circular product design, innovative and efficient production processes, assessment of emerging technologies; (ii) consumption: repair and reuse, resource demands and shifts in consumer behaviours; (iii) waste management: waste hierarchy, closed-loop recycling, waste prevention; (iv) market for secondary raw materials: responsible sourcing, material flows, recycled nutrients and water. In addition, studies on measuring/maximizing the service delivered by products in use (not just at point of production, consumption and end of life) are welcome. Contributions related to the plastic, metals, and bio-based sectors, and those addressing the role of critical raw materials are especially welcome.
New Achievements on Social Life Cycle Assessment and Social Organizational Life cycle assessment
In the last ten years, the interest on further developments of the Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) and its harmonization has been increased in the scientific community as well as among companies. Finally, last year the S-LCA was back under the umbrella of UN Environment Life Cycle Initiative after 5 years. Indeed, the current revision of the UNEP/SETAC guidelines project has been funded by the UN Environment Life Cycle Initiative. The revision process is organized in 5 stages for a publication and launch of the open source Guidelines planned for August 2019 possibly at LCM 2019 in September 2019. The development approach for the first phase includes the development of first drafts in topic based working groups by experts and practitioners/ users, internal review of the drafts by experts and practitioners/ users, 2 technical workshops, 2 external consultations and a peer review. The second phase – the road testing phase see us engage with companies and other organizations and apply the updated Guidelines on a range of products or organizations and industrial sectors. A good amount of initiatives are running right now to assess the social life cycle impact of organization, products, materials and services. Example of initiatives are – The Roundtable of Product Social Metrics is running the V phase. – The European commission introduced social impacts in the Raw Material Information System, a database to collect data on the critical raw materials http://rmis.jrc.ec.europa.eu/ – Sustainable public procurement criteria that includes social ones have already introduced in some countries such as Australia and Italy. – Social Capital Protocol was published by the WBCSD last year. All those initiative clear state the necessity to develop a harmonized approach to assess and compare product and services according to their social performance. The social performance has to include the positive impact to underlined where it possible the added value brought to the stakeholders group chosen. The main goal of this session proposal is to define the current state of the art of SLCA methodology as well as its implementation at the product, company and governance level in order to move a step further toward harmonization of the approach and its integration to life cycle sustainability assessment. We call for contributions covering several aspects of social LCA: scientific background (ontology, epistemology), methods and models (inventory and pathways), tools, data and databases, case studies. More in details suggested topics are: – scientific background – Qualitative vs quantitative assessment – indicators for S-LCA – impact pathway in S-LCA – positive impacts in S-LCA – main challenges in applying S-LCA – S-LCA in the framework of Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment – Social Organizational Life Cycle Assessment (SOLCA) – tools and databases – social life cycle assessment approaches – etc.
New frontiers in Life Cycle Inventory data collection and modelling
Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) data collection is a priori the most time-consuming and expensive stage within the LCA framework. Several efforts to improve these LCI models ensured numerous advancements in recent years, making system models more flexible and transparent. The amount of well-characterized, transparent and relevant data collected in any field has increased exponentially across the globe. Machines can harvest data automatically today, fostering the demand for public data. Open data enhance further the reusability of such data and the reproducibility of results. Currently, the more complete Environmental-extended Multi-Regional Input-Output (EMRIO) datasets can complement traditional, process-based LCI data, avoiding cut-offs while maintaining the level of detail provided by bottom-up process-based data collection. This session invites contributions describing advancements in and around inventory data collection as well as tackling other complementary issues around the topic of making such data accessible, reusable and interoperable. The session especially welcomes summary of forums and working activities aiming at reaching consensus or standardizing the nomenclature (i.e. ontology in data science) in Industrial Ecology; building consensus and enriching the metadata format; improving the spatial and temporal resolution of LCI data and the quality of data uncertainty information. We also encourage proposals dealing with approaches and methods in order to integrate cutting-edge computational and data management tools into the LCI data collection process, such as Text and Data Mining (TDM), the EUDAT services, cloud computing, big data storage solutions, semantic annotation for the semantic web of linked data etc.
Assessment of social impacts for decision-making processes and communication
Social Impacts getting more important for decision-making processes. The Assessment of social effects along the whole supply chain identifies relevant social risks and improvement opportunities as well. Sustainability improvements for products need to consider social aspects in a holistic approach. Life cycle assessments can be used as basis for the assessment of social indicators. After identification and measurement, the interpretation is the next relevant step. The results should be displayed in meaningful figures to support decision-making processes and the communication with of non-experts and different stakeholders as well. Different approaches for the interpretation, discussion and use in decision-making and marketing should be discussed in this session and should enable participants for integration in their own methodologies. The combination of environmental factors, costs and social factor assessments in an integrative, holistic approach for steering processes, product development and improvement in the context of sustainability should be discussed in this session. Furthermore, it can be discussed, how the findings can be interpreted and communicated as well.
Challenges and opportunities for advancing alternatives assessment and chemical substitution
We welcome any abstract providing insights about challenges and advances of methods and related case studies to substitute and phase out hazardous chemicals in various product applications, with focus on quantitative exposure, life cycle impacts, social impacts, decision analysis or a combination of these. There is a growing need for using safer and more sustainable chemicals in consumer products and materials across all sectors. This is supported by international treaties such as the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, and regulatory frameworks such as the European REACH Regulation, where chemicals of concern are identified and initial guidance is provided to phase out and substitute hazardous substances. In 2017 the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) also issued a ‘Strategy to promote substitution to safer chemicals through innovation’ transition towards safer chemicals, and the European 7th Environmental Action Programme has called for a strategy for a Non-Toxic Environment. In addition, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) defined by the United Nations call for a broad reduction of chemical pollution and minimization of human and ecological exposure to harmful chemicals are clear targets within several of the SDGs. Alternatives assessment gains more and more interest as a framework for identifying and evaluating chemicals, materials, processes or behavioral changes that may serve as viable alternatives to hazardous substances in specific product applications. At the same time, high-throughput screening and prioritization approaches and data are increasingly becoming available to support the broader phase out and substitution of harmful chemicals across products and industry sectors. However, the multitude of relevant substitution components including hazard, comparative exposure, life-cycle impacts, technical and economic feasibility, and decision analysis along with the need to implement easy-to-use and operational assessment tools currently render it difficult to achieve consistency across data requirements, assessment methods and resulting indicators. This often leads to “regrettable substitutions” in current substitution practice, leaving relevant trade-offs between assessment components unaddressed. This session welcomes methodological developments and case studies that demonstrate recent progress from green and sustainable chemistry, alternatives assessment and substitution towards successfully replacing harmful chemicals in products and materials from local to global scale.
Challenges in balancing social equity, ecology, and economics in mining
Decisions to permit mining activities become lightning rods attracting opposition from varied interest groups. Many areas harboring ore bodies are located at least in part on lands occupied by or with other significance to Indigenous Peoples. Achieving social equity for Indigenous Peoples requires commitment of the proponents of mines and the permitting/regulatory government entities. All too often it seems that economic interests dominate the decision process at the expense of social and ecological considerations. In recent years, there has been a convergence of ideas and tools regarding sustainability and delivery of ecosystem services that could form the basis for expanding input into the decision-space. The mining industry (International Council on Mining &Metals) and the United Nations Develop Programme along with other organizations have produced a “Map of Issues” related to mining and Sustainable Development Goals (http://unsdsn.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Mapping_Mining_SDGs_An_Atlas.pdf accessed 15 August 2018). This session through a collection of talks will examine ways that expertise within SETAC (ecological risk assessment, ecosystem services, and sustainability) could advance the decision-making process toward a more balanced consideration of values held by affected stakeholders.
Experiences with the guidance for identifying endocrine disruptors - learnings and potential needs for further development of assessment approaches
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that a