SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
5 October 2017
Volume 18 Issue 10

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A Trilingual Tripartite Chemicals Symposium at SETAC Latin America

Karluss Thomas, Chair of the SETAC International Program Committee and Tamar Schlekat, SETAC Scientific Affairs Manager

“Standing room only, lots of talking and delicious food” sounds like a description of a great event.  That was the report back on the SETAC Chemicals Risk Assessment and Management in Latin America held on 7 September in Santos, Brazil. The symposium was organized by the SETAC International Programs Committee in conjunction with the SETAC Latin America Meetings Committee. The goal of the symposium was to exchange information on chemical risk assessment and management approaches in Latin American countries and to share knowledge on the latest approaches.

Opening ceremony, SETAC Santos
SETAC Global Executive Director Charlie Menzie (left) among others who attended the symposium in Santos, Brazil.

More than 80 people from 13 countries across government, business and academia participated in the symposium. Speakers from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Columbia presented the current chemical management practice in their countries. During the second portion of the program, prominent practitioners reviewed best practices for chemical risk assessment and risk management. Later, speakers shared case studies where the best practices were applied to specific chemicals to facilitate a practical understanding of the application of risk assessment and management approaches. The case studies included a novel surfactant substance of unknown or variable composition, complex reaction products and biological materials (UVCB ), and a polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs), dioxin and furan case study. At the end of the presentations, a facilitated discussion ensued. You can download copies of the presentations given that day.

Simultaneous interpreters were on hand to translate into English, Spanish and Portuguese during the entire symposium. Having the interpreters was essential for the speakers and all participants to learn from each other and articulate their thoughts at ease during the discussions. A common theme from the comments received was a clear need for training on risk assessment for chemicals and even a certification for risk assessors. A desire to continue with the dialogue among countries concerning approaches for managing chemicals was also quite evident. The community recognized that implementation must be emphasized once plans and regulations are developed.

Through trilingual and tripartite discussion, the symposium provided a great venue for the exchange of ideas and knowledge sharing. As a matter of fact, everyone had so much to say and the meeting was so much fun that the symposium went on for an hour longer than planned!

Stay tuned for upcoming activities organized by the SETAC International Programs Committee.

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