Workshop on future risk assessment and management strategies

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Those were two really interesting days! Putting a bunch of ecotoxicologists, risk assessors, environmental chemists and LCA experts into one room with environmental lawyers, tax experts and economists in order to discuss possibilities for future chemical risk assessment and management strategies. Took a while to understand each other’s language and concepts (and we’re certainly not ‘there’ yet), but I get the feeling that this could really be an interesting constellation for further discussions. I certainly learned a lot.

Thanks to all participants, and thanks to the University, who provided the funding for this workshop in the context of the “UGot Challenges” program!

Stay tuned, there are some thoughts in the pipeline…

NICE Summerschool on Next Generation Sequencing in Ecotoxicology

summerschool final

Almost a full week talking about possibilities, limitations and methods for using next generation sequencing (RNAseq and metagenomics) for ecotoxicological purposes. Thanks a bunch to Erik Kristiansson, Tobias Österlund, Emil Karlsson, and Nataliá Corcoll for organizing and running the show! Judging from the course evaluations, it wasn’t only me who enjoyed the course.

Now I still have a whole bunch of photos lying around on various memory cards. Need to sort and send around the best ones to the participants. Especially the ones with Tobias hunting for his doorcode… 🙂

Copy of presentation from SETAC annual meeting in Barcelona

Below you find a copy of my presentation from this year’s SETAC meeting in Barcelona. The corresponding report – which is hopefully easier to understand than a couple of slides – will be published by the Swedish Chemicals Agency in the near future. I’ll post a link as soon as it is available.

Let me know if you have any comments or questions!

Chemical Risk Assessment – a tightrope walk between science, stakeholders and common sense

Hm…what do you get when you start as the first speaker? Yeah, non-functional audio (microphone). My apologies, you have to crank up the volume quite a bit, hope it’s understandable…

The talk was given at the annual workshop of the Food Packaging Forum, you’ll find the compilation of all presentations here.

Enjoy!
Thomas

Follow-up to the recent symposium on pharmaceuticals in the environment by EUFEPS (in German)

We have recently held a symposium entitled “Human Pharmaceuticals in the Environment – Challenges in research and the need for societal action”, see here, in the context of a broader EUFEPS conference (EUFEPS is the European Federation for Pharmaceutical Sciences). The German ”Pharmazeutische Zeitung” has now published a quite good summary of the issue (in German), flanked by an editorial.

Unfortunately, there is just one error in the text, to which I reacted in a letter to the editor (see here, in German). It concerns an erroneous statement in the article, indicating that pharmaceuticals are only tested for acute toxicity during the environmental assessment.

Obviously, this does not hold true. According to EMA guideline EMEA/CHMP/SWP/4447/00 human pharmaceuticals are tested (only) for chronic toxicity. The guideline clearly states that:

For the Tier A assessment approach, a standard long-term toxicity test set on fish, daphnia and algae is proposed […] Short-term testing is generally not applicable for human pharmaceuticals since continuous exposure of the aquatic environment via STP effluents is assumed

Thomas

Final Marine Paint Conference in Gothenburg

We presented the results of the Marine Paint programme at its final conference here in Gothenburg at the beginning of this week. And we also took the opportunity to discuss things with a couple of journalists. So, if you can follow Swedish, here’s the pressrelease from the University and the corresponding article in Göteborgs Posten, the local newspaper.

If you prefer German, here’s the interview that I did with Deutschlandfunk:

      interview-Deutschlandfunk

We’ll post an English summary of the conference on our homepage soon.

Thomas

Final Report of the Marine Paint Programme finished and printed

We’ve finally made it! The report of the Marine Paint Programme is finally done, available for download (PDF) and (upon request) as a paper copy.

Marine Paint will also present and discuss its finding at the final conference, which will be held 14/15th of May in Gothenburg. Please contact me if you would like to get more information.

Thanks a bunch to my colleague Åsa Arrhenius! She put in all the effort into compiling the report, finally hunting down all the “Yes, I know I’m late, but I’m so busy that I couldn’t make even the 5th deadline” contributors, and also accommodating the “Yes, I know it’s already after the 5th deadline, but could you make a last, last, last minute change, please??” requests. And, as usual, Åsa Dahlbäck, who took care of layout, graphical design and print.

The report provides an overview of the aims, approaches and achievements of the Marine Paint Programme, which was run at the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology. I had the honor of serving as Programme Director during the last two years of the programme (of a total of nine years). As I’ve written in the report itself:

The Marine Paint programme started more than half a decade before I got involved. Being the successor to Björn Dahlbäck and the final Director of the programme was certainly a special challenge. Not only did we need to organise the finalisation of the experimental work, lay the foundation for the final publication and dissemination activities, but the commercial activities of I-Tech reached an all-time high. All-in-all, the final years were challenging times – and I learned a lot about synergies and goal conflicts between applied and fundamental environmental research, about the involvement of academic organisations in applied research and about the proverbial difficulties of “herding cats”.

Marine Paints activities, although deeply scientific in its core, were aimed at “applied research” in the most positive sense. That is, making research results available for improving the environmental performance of antifouling paints and, consequently, for limiting the environmental footprint of current shipping activities. Did we reach that goal? You’ll be the judge.

All the activities of a programme such as Marine Paint ultimately depend on the quality and quantity of its fundamental scientific activities. For that reason, I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the field assistants, master students, PhD students, Post- Docs, technicians, external contributors and senior scientists involved. They all spent countless hours in the lab, behind the computer and in the field in order to provide the high-quality data that Marine Paint so much depended on – and always went the extra mile if necessary. Special thanks are due to Marine Paint’s steering group, which was pivotal for the organisation, vision and implementation of Marine Paint. Without all of you, Marine Paint would not have been as successful as it is today. Stort tack!

Presentations from NAS Workshop on Mixtures and Cumulative Risk Assessment

Now this is what a call a thorough documentation of a workshop (and an incredible time-sink), but check for yourself…

The National Academy of Sciences conducted a workshop on Mixtures and Cumulative Risk Assessment in July . And they have put many of the talks of online. Tons to of materials to listen to, read and think about. Strict human toxicology / health assessment perspective and very US-centred (obviously) – but the principles hold anyway.

 

Thomas