SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
  8 November 2012
Volume 13 Issue 11

Return to the Globe

Why Wouldn’t You Join a SETAC Advisory Group?

Ruth Hull, Intrinsik Environmental Sciences Inc.

SETAC has fifteen global advisory groups, three focused in North America, six in Europe!

This is the fourth and final installment of the Introduction to Advisory Groups series. The July, September and October issues of the Globe each described several of the North American, European and Global advisory groups. This month, you can find out more about five global advisory groups (Animal Alternatives in Environmental Science, Aquatic Macrophyte Ecotoxicology, Ecosystem Services, Endocrine Disrupter Testing and Risk Assessment, Pharmaceuticals) and one European advisory group (REACh). We also omitted information about one active working group of the Sediment Advisory Group; an updated description is provided below.

With such diversity in topics, when you are part of an advisory group, you may find yourself advancing the science in a particular area while also building another great networking opportunity within SETAC! Then again, you may just want to find out more about an issue and how the experts are grappling with common scientific challenges. Regardless, being part of an advisory group gives you the chance to participate in special sessions or networking events at annual meetings, focused workshops, on-line exchanges, or to contribute to books or journal articles. So, why don’t you join?!

SETAC members can become a member of any advisory group, whether regional or global, by expressing their interest in their SETAC profile. Simply log in at with your user name (or email address) and password (membership number or one that you have created). Once you are signed in as a member to the new website, select the left side navigation menu labeled “Get Involved.” Choose your group and click “Join Group” near the top of the page. Remember, you have to be signed in as a member to see the “Join Group” button. All persons with an interest in an advisory group are encouraged to participate. If you require any assistance, contact the SETAC office at

The Aquatic Macrophyte Ecotoxicology Group (AMEG) was established to provide scientific advice, practical guidance and communication and education on all aspects of aquatic macrophyte testing in the laboratory and field as well as the use of macrophyte data in the risk assessment of chemicals. AMEG considers aquatic macrophytes to be all freshwater higher plants (including emergent, floating-leaved, free-floating and submerged forms or hydrophytes, amphiphytes and helophytes) but also macro-algae like Chara and salt-water plants like sea-grasses and other macroalgae (e.g., brown algae). Current working groups are 1) addressing topics such as the incorporation of macrophytes into species-sensitivity distributions for herbicides and fungicides (and this has resulted in a recent publication coming out in Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management) and 2) promoting the development of standard bioassay protocols for Myriophyllum spicatum and M. aquaticum (which is currently being assessed by the OECD after a ring testing phase) and now, most recently, 3) a new group investigating the potential of Gylceria sp. In addition, we are interested in extrapolation from the laboratory to the field and between species and endpoints, as well as assessing recovery of macrophytes and incorporating these observations into the risk assessment process. For more information on how to participate in AMEG, join a current working group, or lead a new one, please contact Gertie Arts or Mark Hanson for more details or visit

The Animal Alternatives in Environmental Science Advisory Group strives to foster discussion of key technical challenges for the future of the 3Rs (reduction, refinement and replacement of animal tests) in environmental science, understand the state of the science in animal alternatives with respect to acute and chronic testing, understand the landscape for future animal alternative needs, develop the basis for collaborative progress by all stakeholders and consider how animal alternatives in environmental science will impact risk assessment. The advisory group sponsors sessions each year at the North America and SETAC Europea annual meetings. In addition, a “regulatory dialogue” session was held recentlyat the 6th SETAC World Congress in Berlin, where perspectives on animal alternatives from regulatory, industry and academic sectors were given. Future work will aim to continue this dialogue between various stakeholders. Contact Scott Belanger or Michelle Embry for more details or visit

The Ecosystem Services Advisory Group is a platform for the exchange of information and ideas on the use of the ecosystem services concept in risk assessment and risk management, environmental regulation and valuation of ecosystem services. It works to advance overall understanding of the use of the ecosystem services concept, provides scientific support to facilitate effective decision making, provides a forum for knowledge transfer (lecture series, special science symposia), and organizes sessions at annual meetings and workshops to address scientific issues associated with ecosystem services. The advisory group exists to serve as a scientific resource for all interested in the topic of ecosystem services.

Advisory group meetings are held at annual SETAC North America and SETAC Europe meetings; extension to other SETAC geographic units is welcomed. Currently the group discusses the connection between the typical SETAC issues and the ecosystem services concept. Contact Joke Van Wensem, Lorraine Maltby or Tim Canfield for more details or visit

The new Endocrine Disrupter Testing and Risk Assessment Global Advisory Group serves as a focal point within SETAC internationally as a means of involving the membership in research, critical assessment and debate on endocrine disrupter risk assessment. It aims to advance the overall understanding of the fate, effects and potential risk assessment consequences of known and suspected endocrine disrupters and to provide scientific support to ensure effective regulatory decision making. This is aided by having direct and active links with existing regional SETAC advisory groups (including the SETAC North America Human Health Risk Assessment Advisory Group). The advisory group had its first meeting at the SETAC World Congress in Berlin, which resulted in great enthusiasm and ideas. There will be a follow up meeting on November 12 at the SETAC North America meeting in Long Beach, so ideas for discussion items are welcome. We also aim to have a special session at the SETAC Europe 23rd Annual Meeting in Glasgow, UK (May 2013) on the theme of “Environmental endocrine disrupter testing and risk assessment: What are the key science needs to support regulatory decision-making?” Contact Tom Hutchinson for more details or visit

The Pharmaceuticals Advisory Group was established to advance the science and understanding of pharmaceuticals in the environment. The scope of this advisory group is human and veterinary pharmaceuticals. Personal care products (PCP) and other emerging contaminants are not included because it is specifically pharmacological bioactivity that has called into question the adequacy of the existing environmental risk assessment science for pharmaceuticals. Scientific coverage of this advisory group includes all fields pertinent to conducting effective environmental risk assessments for pharmaceuticals, such as transport, fate, exposure, effect and impact analysis. All environmental compartments, such as aquatic, terrestrial and biomass are included. Recent activities have included an evaluation of top global research and policy questions about the effects and risks of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in the environment (November 2011) and submission of comments, to SAICM, the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), in cooperation with the Human Health Risk Assessment Advisory Group, on 1) international cooperation to build awareness and understanding and promote actions on endocrine disrupting chemicals and 2) environmentally persistent pharmaceutical pollutants. These documents can be downloaded from the Pharmaceuticals Advisory Group web page on the SETAC web site. Contact Alistair Boxall for more details or visit

The REACh Advisory Group serves as a focal point within SETAC Europe for scientific REACh-orientated discussions and activities, specifically to discuss regulatory concerns in order to encourage and channel scientific activities, enhance exchange of scientific information between experts in the relevant fields and promote the further development of scientific solutions in order to facilitate the formulation of technical guidance by European Chemicals Agency (EChA). The REACh Advisory Group aims to do this by providing and maintaining an open dialogue and feedback on new and emerging scientific issues and practices with stakeholders (e.g., regulatory scientists and interested European organisations), providing cross-fertilisation of learning and knowledge exchange from approaches utilised in other EU legislation, such as crop protection (EEC/91/414) and BPD (EEC/98/8); organising sessions at SETAC annual meetings and ensuring workshops are planned and organised to address scientific issues associated with REACh, advocating the appropriate utilisation and derivation of environmental fate and ecotoxicological endpoints in the chemical safety assessments; discussing the appropriate refinement of exposure scenarios and assessment; and discussing and debating potential higher-tier risk assessment practices with a view to providing agreed statements and associated guidance on potential routes forward. It is imperative that the risk management decisions which emanate from the REACh legislation are based on sound science. It is in this area that SETAC can provide a role in providing a forum for discussion, information sharing and dialogue with respect to the scientific issues within REACh. Contact Tim Kedwards for more details or visit

The Sediment Advisory Group considers environmental aspects of quantity and quality of sediments, both as deposits and as suspended matter in freshwater, estuarine and marine environments. Scientific coverage includes all fields pertinent to conducting effective environmental risk assessment and management of sediment, including issues such as transport, fate, exposure, effect, impact analysis, guideline values and frameworks (regulations) and management strategies. Current working groups are addressing topics that include ecosystem-based sustainable sediment management; harmonization of methods for assessing contaminated sediments; PAHs; behavior, fate and bioavailability of particle-bound contaminants in changing environments; understanding and preparing for the response of sediment contaminant systems to natural and anthropogenic disturbances and climate change; sediment quality in developing countries; reviewing sediment targets for water quality; and sediment quality bioavailability and guideline modifying factors. Contact Stu Simpson for more details, or visit

Author's contact

Return to the Globe

SETAC mission statement Contact SETAC Globe
Contact the SETAC North America office
Contact the SETAC Europe office