SETAC Europe: 2,000 scientists discuss cutting-edge research in environmental toxicology and chemistry

The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Europe 27th Annual Meeting will draw 2,000 scientists from more than 60 countries from the Americas to Asia from 7–11 May to Brussels, Belgium, to discuss the latest research in environmental science. Featuring about 1,800 presentations over 81 sessions, including 493 platform presentations and 1,291 poster presentations, this international annual meeting is the biggest of its kind in Europe. Gertie Arts of Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra) is co-chair of the scientific programme committee.

Experts from academia, government and business, including representatives from international organisations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Society of Exposure Science (ISES), will explore topics such as antibacterial resistance, endocrine disrupting chemicals and sustainable energy technology under the theme, “Environmental Quality Through Transdisciplinary Collaboration.”

“SETAC has a long history of bringing experts together and organising scientific debates. The outcomes of these balanced and scientific discussions are frequently used as a basis for environmental regulation. With this year’s meeting organised in Brussels, we are at the centre of the arena where environmental regulation is developed. An excellent opportunity to feed our science into the decision making process and to translate SETAC's slogan Environmental Quality Through Science into deeds,” says Bart Bosveld, SETAC Europe Executive Director.

At the meeting, new findings will be presented and discussed around an array of environmental and human health topics such as pesticides, chemical risk assessment, microplastics, nanotechnology, personal care products and pharmaceuticals in the environment, endocrine disruptors, metals in the environment, environmental disasters (such as oil spills), alternatives to animal testing, science communication and many more. The overarching goal of this conference is to bridge the gap between environmental and human toxicology and risk assessment, and to set the stage for a long-term collaboration between experts in these disciplines.

Moreover, three distinguished keynote speakers will address important issues for the attendees. “From beach to bedside: What can oceans do for human health?” is the question Prof. Lora Fleming with the University of Exeter, UK, will answer in her presentation about the importance of the world’s oceans to maintain and improve human health on 7 May at the opening ceremony. “Oceans and human health is a new metadiscipline exploring the linkages between the health of the ocean and human health and wellbeing,” says Fleming.

Geert Dancet, director of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), Finland, will address “Ten years of REACH: Achievements, Scientific Challenges and Research Needs” on 8 May. “Europe is certainly leading the world on safer chemicals, but we must fight against complacency,” says Geert Dancet. “We still know too little about the long-term impact of many commonly used chemical substances on human health and the environment. And, until ECHA is able to draw scientifically robust conclusions on their safety, consumers’ fears cannot be put at rest.”

How far are we with “Product Environmental Footprint” developments? Dr. Michele Galatola, Director General for the Environment of the European Commission, will show the latest developments and its policy implications on 10 May. “With several sessions jointly organised with other scientific societies (EUROTOX, International Society of Exposure Science, International Water Association), we bring together all the relevant expertise to illuminate the very distinct pathways of environmental pollutants and help to solve complicated environmental issues,” says Bosveld.


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