September 26, 2014 by Graham Merrington


From the 14th to the 17th of September 2014, I attended SETAC Asia-Pacific in Adelaide, Australia. The theme of the meeting was Advancing Science for a Sustainable Environment and, with over 300 delegates, it was well attended.

There were six parallel sessions running each day that tackled many of the similar subject areas to other SETACs around the globe. However, there were some significant differences, and these were seen in sessions on ecological risks to the Great Barrier Reef, ecotoxicological effects in Antarctica and also regard to mining and acid sulphate soils. In this last session was an excellent presentation on manganese exposure from mining operations and the affect on motor control of the northern quoll on Groote Island, by Ami Amir Abdul Nasir.

A day’s session was dedicated to Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) of Pharmaceuticals – Regulatory Aspects chaired by Yas Azuma and Alistair Boxall. I presented experiences of the European framework from a wca perspective, specifically those of Mel Gross, David Taylor and Dean Leverett, and there were also presentations on the current regulations and status ERA from Japan, Australia, Korea and Canada.

A session on trace metal fate, behaviour and ecotoxicology, specifically aimed at bioavailability assessment, included another presentation by me, but written by Adam Peters, on the paramaterisation of the chronic nickel BLMs, developed in North America and Europe, for Australian waters.

Of particular interest was the session on the final day on the advances in the guidance on the development of water quality guidelines (NOT triggers!) in Australia and New Zealand. There are many similarities with the approaches taken in the EU and parts of Canada, especially in the assessment of data and extrapolation methods. In this session Mike Roberts of Defra presented the current political landscape in the EU to ED chemicals and Kenny Leung of the University of Hong Kong gave an excellent presentation looking at temperature-dependent toxicity models and the importance in regard to EQS development. I also gave a final presentation in this session, from work undertaken by Becky Brown and Dean Leverett, on the derivation of an EQS for bisphenol A.