May 29, 2024 by Sylwia Kosmala-Grzechnik


Although the SETAC Europe conference in Seville has come to an end, the inspiring experiences and discussions will linger with us for a long time…With over 3000 attendees from around the world, 10 parallel scientific sessions during which over 500 presentations were delivered, and over 500 posters presented each day, it was the largest SETAC to date!

wca were also incredibly busy at this year’s SETAC, chairing several sessions, hosting a workshop on CREED, delivering platform presentations, and presenting posters. Despite our hectic schedule, we managed to attend many sessions covering various scientific topics and discuss potential projects with clients, across a wide array of different disciplines.

This year’s SETAC conference centered on a critical theme: integrating science and policy to address environmental challenges in times of crisis. The event showcased a range of presentations and discussions aimed at paving the way for enhanced environmental protection through innovative approaches.

A significant highlight was the presentation by a representative of the European Commission, who outlined the roadmap for phasing out animal testing. This initiative emerged in response to the EU Citizens Initiative, reflecting growing public and scientific support for more humane and sustainable testing methods. The roadmap aims to systematically reduce reliance on animal testing while ensuring robust environmental protection. The conference also featured numerous presentations on new approach methodologies (NAMs) designed to address ecotoxicity endpoints. These discussions emphasized the importance of integrating these innovative methodologies into regulatory frameworks to ensure they can be effectively and widely applied. Although it is inspiring to witness the development of new testing approaches, the challenges of implementing these scientific advancements into regulatory regimes were also highlighted, with discussions on potential solutions to overcome these hurdles. At wca, we are actively following the developments on NAMs and working currently on several projects aiming to incorporate novel methodologies to reduce the animal testing, where possible, into the registration documentation, therefore if you would like to hear more, please contact us.

The presentations by ECHA provided an overview of the recently introduced new EU hazard classification for endocrine disruption (ED) for human health and for the environment, persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) and very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB) and persistent, mobile and toxic (PMT) and very persistent and very mobile (vPvM) assessment criteria. Here at wca, we have extensive experience in classifying substances and mixtures under the CLP and have conducted many ED and PBT/vPvB assessments for various substances, including complex UVCB substances, as well as we are experts in mobility assessment as part of exposure assessments. Therefore, please do not hesitate to contact us if you require assistance with addressing the new hazard classification.

Moreover, an interesting discussion about the importance of behavioural ecotoxicology and its rapid progress due to the novel solutions in analysing the data, such as increased involvement of AI-based automated visual tracking was also held. The use of behavioral data for regulatory purposes may be improved by the ethoCRED tool, which will enable consistent and streamlined assessment of the wide array of experimental design approaches seen in behavioral ecotoxicology. This scheme could be readily implemented into regulatory frameworks in different jurisdictions, and alongside other widely used schemes such as CRED (Criteria for Reporting and Evaluating Ecotoxicity Data) and Klimisch, allowing for better integration of data into environmental protection.

SETAC Seville was an exceptional week of learning, sharing, and networking and we look forward to applying the insights gained and continuing our active involvement in the scientific and regulatory communities. Please feel free to reach out to us for more information or to discuss any of the topics covered during the conference.