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SETAC Pellston Workshop on Environmental Mixtures

January 26, 2015


Over the past 10-15 years, there has been an increased emphasis on the monitoring of “emerging or trace organic contaminants” leading to long lists of chemicals observed in the field and open questions regarding the potential of their combined effects. Several major studies have investigated the potential combinatory effects of these chemicals within the context of other, non-chemical, stressors via field studies, a.k.a. eco-epidemiology. These studies have provided frameworks that guide investigators through large and highly complicated datasets by reducing complexity and providing recommendations for appropriate management action. While these frameworks have clearly advanced environmental science, risk assessment and potential management, they remain elusive for most stakeholders. In essence, they appear to be too complicated for verification and forecasting for risk managers.

There is a need for testable frameworks that simplify the complexities of assigning causality and provides tools that can be used for forecasting risks based on potential exposure scenarios. This 5 day SETAC Pellston international workshop will address this need by exploring whether the complexities of diverse potential exposure-responses can be simplified into exposure scenarios. Participants in the workshop will address the scientific underpinnings of mixture toxicity and help refine and simplify these per exposure scenario. It is expected that retrospective methods can be used to test the veracity of these decision criteria and then be flipped to forecast the potential effects of chemical mixtures.

A key output from the workshop will be guidance on how generalized decision trees can be used in forecasting where chemical exposure may represent a potential concern.