Archive of wca's blogs from 2016

New Ecolabel category: Furniture

December 22, 2016 by Olivia Tran

If you are a furniture manufacturer, importer or retailer, stand out in the market as one of the first license holders for Ecolabel-certified furniture. In July, the EU created a new Ecolabel product category for furniture. The UK and EU government have public procurement strategies that emphasise sustainable manufacture and sourcing, and identify the EU Ecolabel as an accepted standard.
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Environmental risk assessment of antibiotics

November 18, 2016 by Becky Brown

Global concerns regarding antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and the growing risk that antibiotics will no longer be able to treat infectious diseases is high on the political agenda. At a major United Nations (UN) meeting in September all 193 member states signed a declaration which insisted upon tackling the spread of AMR.
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7th SETAC World Congress and 37th SETAC North America Annual Meeting

November 15, 2016 by Adam Peters

I recently attended the SETAC world congress in Orlando to give a presentation in a session organised by the USEPA on scientific advances supporting Water Quality Criteria derivation on deriving standards for situations where Good Ecological Status is unlikely to be achieved. I also co-chaired an exciting session on the modelling and interpretation of the effects of metal mixtures with Kevin Brix of EcoTox, and presented a poster on the implementation options for a water quality standard for nickel in Australia in trying to strike a balance between ecological relevance and complexity.
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Italian National Guideline on biota monitoring and Biotic Ligand Models

November 10, 2016 by Iain Wilson

The Italian Institute for Protection and Environmental Research (ISPRA) have released their national guidance on biota monitoring and biotic ligand models (BLMs) in the publication Guidance document on priority substance monitoring under the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC).
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Abstract Submission for SETAC Europe 2017

November 4, 2016 by Iain Wilson

The 27th SETAC Europe Annual Meeting will be held in Brussels from the 7th to the 11th May 2017. Dean Leverett will be chairing a session (with Mirco Bundschuh of Landau University) on Wastewater effluents: How research can improve risk assessment and regulation under the Ecological risk assessment and human health risk assessment of chemicals and other stressors and mixtures track. We would very much welcome the submission of your abstracts for platform or poster presentations.
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Does the scientific underpinning of regulatory tools to estimate bioavailability matter?

September 28, 2016 by Adam Peters

Graham and I have recently published a paper comparing some of the implementation approaches which are available for bioavailability based water quality standards for metals. Generally it has not been possible to compare the predictions made by the user-friendly bioavailability tools against predictions made by the biotic ligand models (BLMs). This has led to confusion about which of the user-friendly bioavailability tools provides the most reliable predictions for the range of water chemistries which are likely to be experienced within any particular river basin.The implementation of bioavailability based water quality standards for metals throughout Europe in the future should help to identify the most important priorities for regulatory action.
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SETAC Asia/Pacific in Singapore 16th to 19th September 2016

September 19, 2016 by Graham Merrington

I attended SETAC Asia/Pacific in Singapore (16th - 19th September) that was focussed on “Managing Environmental Quality in the Asian Century”. The meeting was held at the National University of Singapore. There were 300 participants from 30 countries and the sessions were beyond some of the usual ones at SETAC meetings, with particular interest in the “indigenous knowledge and values in SETAC and environmental science”.
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Can Chemical Water Quality Standards developed by one jurisdiction be applied in other countries or regions?

August 12, 2016 by Dean Leverett

Chemical Water Quality Standards for the protection of long-term effects– e.g. Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) in Europe, Water Quality Criteria in the USA, Water Quality Guidelines in Canada - are concentrations of specific substances in water below which effects on the aquatic organisms are not expected to occur. In all jurisdictions that implement such standards (in either a regulatory or aspirational sense), their development generally follows a generic hazard assessment approach in which a Predicted No Effect Concentration (PNEC) is derived using the available ecotoxicology data for a substance. However, the specific methodologies and techniques applied in deriving the PNEC and the final, implemented standard often differs significantly between different jurisdictions.
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WCA's commitment to our EU clients following the outcome of the United Kingdom referendum.

June 25, 2016 by David Taylor

wca would like to reassure all of our EU clients that we remain committed to you and to continuing to deliver a high quality service across all of our activities. As one of the market leaders in the provision of environmental risk assessment services, we intend to retain a strong EU presence for the company into the future.
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Italian Training on BLMs and Bioavailability of Metals; 24th June – CNR-IRSA (Brugherio, Italy)

June 20, 2016 by Lidia Ceriani

An Italian training session on Biotic Ligand Models and Bioavailability of Metals’ will be held next Friday at the Italian Institute of Water Research (CNR-IRSA) near Milan in Italy.
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The 2nd International Conference on Deriving Environmental Quality Standards for the Protection of Aquatic Ecosystems (EQSPAE – 2016)

June 17, 2016 by Iain Wilson

The 2nd International Conference on Deriving Environmental Quality Standards for the Protection of Aquatic Ecosystems (EQSPAE – 2016) will be hosted by the University of Hong Kong between the 18th and 20th June 2016.
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wca at SETAC Nantes - A Review

June 8, 2016 by Becky Marks

Dean, Graham, Adam and I recently attended the SETAC conference in Nantes, which took place from the 22nd to 26th May. The conference was well attended and a great opportunity to meet new people and catch up. There were a range of wca presentations and posters on display throughout the week and as always, SETAC also provided an opportunity to learn and keep updated on the latest research.
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Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs) and Regulatory Acceptance

June 6, 2016 by Becky Brown

Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs) and their application for regulatory purposes is currently receiving considerable attention. In April the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) held a workshop on new approach methodologies (NAM) in read-across which concluded that acceptance of new methods such as those based on AOPs by regulators would be slow due to the cost, expertise and time required to evaluate them (ChemWatch 2016a). The following week I attended a meeting hosted by the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) on “Pathways-based approaches across the biosciences: Towards application in practice” which aimed to promote the use of AOPs for regulatory purposes.
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Assessment of Pressures on European Water Bodies Workshop JRC Ispra, Italy, 11-12 May 2016

June 1, 2016 by Lidia Ceriani

From the 11th to the 12th of May, I attended the workshop on “Assessment of pressures on European water bodies” held at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra (Italy). My attendance was mainly for informative purposes, but I also presented the wca poster entitled “Practical application of bioavailability for assessing the potential risks of metals”.
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Bioavailability Implementation Forum; Meeting the challenges of implementing bioavailability-based EQS for metals

May 26, 2016 by Iain Wilson

The Bioavailability Implementation Forum was held during the SETAC Europe conference in Nantes on the 24th May to discuss meeting the challenges of implementing bioavailability-based EQS for metals. The purpose of the meeting was to provide an update on initiatives in regard to bioavailability and BLMs that are of relevance to regulatory implementation. Furthermore, there was the opportunity to discuss existing challenges and practical solutions to the challenges faced. The outputs of the meeting and the presentations are all available online to download.
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wca at SETAC-Europe Nantes May 22nd – May 26th

May 24, 2016 by Iain Wilson

Graham Merrington, Dean Leverett, Adam Peters and Becky Marks are all currently attending the SETAC Europe Conference in Nantes. wca have a trade stand (No. 20) at the conference where we would happily discuss the work wca staff are presenting or any projects that we could help you with.
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wca at SETAC Nantes

May 12, 2016 by Dean Leverett

At wca we take considerable pride in being active members and supporters of the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). The 2016 SETAC-Europe conference will be held in Nantes in May, and as usual wca’s scientists will be presenting their work across a range of scientific sessions.
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IUCLID 6 released

May 12, 2016 by Becky Marks

Friday 29th April saw the much anticipated release of IUCLID 6, bringing in a number of significant changes to the IUCLID software. IUCLID software is required for submitting REACH registration dossiers, as well as for submissions under the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR), and therefore it is vital that registrants are aware of the changes and understand the implications of the upgrade.
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The importance of the Ecolabel in a Circular Economy

April 29, 2016 by Olivia Tran

The Ecolabel is a voluntary programme in the EU that identifies products and services with reduced environmental impact. There are 32 Ecolabel categories, including rinse-off cosmetics (e.g. soaps and shampoos), cleaners, detergents, lubricants and paints and varnishes.
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Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting - Day 3

March 17, 2016 by Owen Green & Ed Stutt

Two principal consultants of wca, Owen Green and Ed Stutt, are attending the Society of Toxicology (SoT) annual meeting and ToxExpo from 13th to the 17th March in New Orleans. Their round-up of Day 3 is detailed.
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Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting - Day 2

March 16, 2016 by Owen Green & Ed Stutt

Owen Green and Ed Stutt, two of wca's principal consultants, are attending the Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting and ToxExpo at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and their round-up of Day 2 is detailed.
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Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting - Day 1

March 15, 2016 by Owen Green & Ed Stutt

Two wca principal consultants are attending the Society of Toxiolcogy Annual Meeting and ToxExpo at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and their round-up of Day 1 is detailed.
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Concept, tools and strategies for effluent testing: An International Workshop

March 15, 2016 by Becky Brown

I attended a workshop hosted by the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI - http://www.hesiglobal.org) to discuss existing strategies for effluent toxicity testing, how these vary from country to country, and what agreement there is on a general approach.
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wca at the Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting and ToxExpo

March 10, 2016 by Iain Wilson

Two principal consultants of wca, Owen Green and Ed Stutt, will be attending the Society of Toxicology (SoT) annual meeting and ToxExpo from 13th to the 17th March in New Orleans. Owen will be presenting a poster, ‘Local reactions to subcutaneous injection of HFAs’ (poster No. 2454) on Tuesday 15th March between 13.15 and 16.30 CT. Both Ed and Owen will be attending numerous sessions and meetings during the event.
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Lead Environmental Quality Standard (EQS) Screening Tool

March 8, 2016 by Iain Wilson

wca have developed a screening tool for the assessment of site-specific PNECs for Lead (Pb) and it can be freely download from the downloads section of the wca website.
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Assessing the Reliability and Relevance of Aquatic Toxicity Studies Under the WFD

March 7, 2016 by Dean Leverett

The reliability and relevance of aquatic ecotoxicology studies (the basis of PNEC derivation) has traditionally been achieved using the so-called Klimisch scoring method (Klimisch 1997). Over the last few years, there has been increasing criticism of the Klimisch approach to study reliability and relevance, especially in relation to EQS derivation under the WFD. This has led to the development of an alternative scheme for the assessment of the reliability and relevance of aquatic ecotoxicology studies, known as Criteria for Reporting and Evaluating Ecotoxicity Data (CRED). Here, I summarise the recent history and developments in ecotoxicity study reliability/ relevance assessment, and suggest that we should exercise some caution in the way we apply this ‘alternative’ approach.
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Cost vs Benefit in Chemicals Risk Management

March 3, 2016 by David Taylor

The Royal Society of Chemistry is hosting a series of meetings that are attempting to explore some of the issues in cost vs benefit in chemicals risk management and the next one is to be held in London at the beginning of May this year.
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Interdepartmental Group on Health Risks from Chemicals (IGHRC) Awareness Day - REACH Update

February 15, 2016 by Ed Stutt

Ed recently attended an Interdepartmental Group on Health Risks from Chemicals (IGHRC) Awareness Day in York giving an update on the progress of REACH. The aim of the meeting was to provide an update on how REACH activities are progressing from the perspectives of UK regulatory bodies, industry and ECHA.
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wca branches out to consortium administration tasks

February 10, 2016 by Rhiannon Smith

wca are expanding their repertoire for EU REACH registrations from the technical aspects of preparing the hazard and exposure assessments sections of dossiers to Consortium management.
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SETAC Pellston Workshop™: Environmental Hazard and Risk Assessment Approaches for Endocrine Active Chemicals (EHRA)

February 9, 2016 by Melanie Gross

I attended a SETAC Pellston Workshop™ on Environmental Hazard and Risk Assessment Approaches for Endocrine Active Chemicals last week. There is currently ongoing scientific and political debate as to whether endocrine disrupting chemicals can undergo risk assessment, or whether they form a chemical group of special concern that should be regulated via hazard assessment only (e.g. like PBTs). The objective of this workshop was to discuss the underlying issues and to provide guidance on whether hazard-based or risk-based approaches should be selected in any given case. An executive summary of the workshop was agreed on the final day by all participants. The publications committee for the workshop will also be writing an article covering the workshop for SETAC Globe and for submission to the News section of Chemical Watch.
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Are the Biotic Ligand Models (BLM) suitable for assessing the ecological risk of metals in Nordic freshwaters?

February 4, 2016 by Graham Merrington

Graham attended a start-up last week in Helsinki at SYKE (Finnish Environmental Institute), for a project focussed upon asking: Are the Biotic Ligand Models (BLM) suitable for assessing the ecological risk of metals in Nordic freshwaters? The project is aimed at validating the biotic ligand models for nickel, copper and zinc in Fennoscandinavian freshwaters that can be both soft and also relatively acidic (but have high concentrations of dissolved organic carbon).
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