SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
14 August 2014
Volume 15 Issue 8

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SETAC Seeks Technical Issue Paper Contributions

Greg Schiefer and Bruce Vigon, SETAC

SETAC publishes Technical Issue Papers (TIPs) periodically as Society communications on important topics in environmental science. These papers are typically short, three-to-four-page briefs that describe the current state-of-knowledge and SETAC position on a key aspect in environmental toxicology, chemistry or a related discipline. Authors of TIPs can include advisory groups, science committees, workshop or topical meeting steering committees, or even a small team of individual experts. TIPs go through a rigorous review process as described in the Public Outreach Standard Operating Procedure.  This procedure ensures that the document is technically correct through science committee and scientific affairs manager peer review, as well as reviewed by a relevant advisory group steering or ad hoc committee (if the group is not the author). SETAC governance oversight occurs through the outreach committee and the communications and publications committees, as appropriate, and edited by the SETAC communications and publications staff. The final approval comes through the SETAC World Council. The last step before distribution is formatting and document layout by the SETAC communications and publications staff.

Although TIPS are scientifically accurate and up-to-date (after all they are written by leading member experts), they are not primarily intended to communicate with scientific experts. Instead, they are written in language that is understandable to secondary school educators, congressional support staff and other professionals who are not necessarily environmental scientists.

Currently, five TIPs are available for download on the SETAC website at the Publications and Resources tab:

SETAC provides these under very non-restrictive copyright conditions, requesting only that acknowledgement be given for more than personal use. Four of these publications are more than 10 years old. Although the basic principles described may still be valid, there is interest in having advisory groups with expertise in these topics take on the task of rewriting them, assuming the topic still has current utility.

A new TIP entitled “What is an Endocrine Disrupter?” was published this month. This is a major update of a TIP prepared some years ago that was in serious need of updating. Given recent advances in scientific understanding of the phenomenon of endocrine disruption (ED) and development of testing methods and regulatory protocols under various national and European Union programs, it is critical that up-to-date information be provided in TIPs. The new TIP contains some helpful background on “Hormones and the Endocrine System” and provides a high-level overview of the science in a section on “Endocrine Disrupters – The Scope of the Science.” Additional details are given in sections on “How Do EDs Interact with the Endocrine System?” “What Are the Sources and Common Exposure Routes?” and “Which Effects in Humans and Wildlife Have Been Linked to Endocrine Disrupters in the Laboratory?” A section on assessing risks and developing regulations gives a perspective on different ways to look at ED management. Finally, a forward view on research needs rounds out the paper.

Apart from updates on the older TIPs list above, SETAC would very much like to receive proposals, particularly from advisory groups, on preparation of a TIP in an area of their respective expertise that is not only leading edge but also of interest to a broader audience (i.e., other than environmental scientists). European advisory groups should contact Roel Evens with the Brussels office for guidance. Global and North American advisory groups can contact Bruce Vigon in the Pensacola office.

Author contact information:,

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