Keynote lectures

Damià Barceló

Derek J. Knight

Michael Newman

Joseph M. Suflita

 

Sunday 23th May during the Opening Ceremony

Damià Barceló

Fate and risk of pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs in river basins:
The Ebro and Llobregat case studies

Occurrence of emerging contaminants in environmental waters is directly related to their removal in wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) and the flow rate of the receiving waters. Mediterranean rivers are characterized by important fluctuations in the flow rates and heavy contamination pressures from extensive urban, industrial and agricultural activities. This translates in contamination levels most often higher than in other European basins. For instance, the Llobregat river basin (Catalonia, NE Spain), suffers from extreme and frequent flow (1–100m3 s-1) fluctuations and receives the effluent discharges of more than 55 WWTPs, and at some points, especially in drought periods, the effluents may represent almost 100% of the total flow of the river. Thus, it is not strange to find considerably high levels of organic contaminants along the river and increasing concentrations when moving downstream due to the also increasing number of WWTPs and population pressure. Beside conventional contaminants such as pesticides, Hg, organochlorine compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), alkylphenols and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), emerging contaminants (pharmaceuticals and personal care products and illicit drugs) represent an overgrowing portion of trace organic contaminants of concern in these two rivers.
This paper summarizes the findings of several studies and monitoring programmes conducted with the aim of getting a better insight about the sources and fate of pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs in NE Spain. The presence of pharmaceutically active compounds and illicit drugs is discussed in relationship to their removal in WWTP, influence of hydrological conditions in the receiving rivers and dilution factors. Finally, risk posed by these emerging contaminants in both surface and effluent wastewaters was assessed towards different aquatic organisms (algae, daphnids and fish) by determining the hazard indexes.

Damià Barceló is Director of the Catalan Institute for Water research (ICRA) since May 2008 and full research professor in CSIC, since 1999. He was awarded with the Prize King Jaime I on the Protection of Nature in 2007.
He has published over 560 scientific papers in SCI journals, 100 book chapters and has been co-author of 1 book on Pesticides analysis in the environment and editor of 16 books on Environmental analysis and fate of pollutants. His research impact is ranked by a Hirsch-Index of 62. He is currently editor-in-chief of the book series Wilson: Wilson Comprehensive Analytical Chemistry, (Elsevier, Amsterdam, NL) and the Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (Springer-Verlag), associate editor of Trends in Analytical Chemistry (Elsevier, NL) and Environment International (Elsevier, NL), and member of the Editorial board of  Analytical and Bionalytical Chemistry and Talanta, respectively. He has been supervisor of 28 Ph.D. theses on environmental analysis (1992-2009). Member of the Scientific Panel of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) (2004-2009) and Panel Member of the EURYI (European Young Investigator Awards) from ESF (2004-2007). He was coordinator of the WASTE WATER CLUSTER (a cluster of 5 EU funded projects) from July 1997 to July 2001; He was the coordinator of the EU projects EMCO (July 2004 to July 2007) and currently coordinates FP6 INCO project INNOVA-MED (2007-2010), and has been selected as a member of different working groups in the area of development of European legislation. He was partner of the 6th Framework Programme EU integrated projects AQUATERA and MODELKEY (2004-2010) and his work within those projects was related to fate and impacts of emerging contaminants at Ebro and Llobregat river basins. He is partner of the 7th Framework programme projects CONFFIDENCE (2008-2012) and RISKCYCLE (2009-2012).
His main scientific activities are related to   solve different environmental problems, mainly in the field of water and soil quality. The main achievements are the development of new analytical methods covering abroad range of techniques from immunoassays and biosensors to  mass spectrometry(MS) and hybrid LC-tandem MS  together with  environmental studies  on the behaviour, fate and  risk of emerging pollutants (polar pesticides, surfactants, endocrine disruptors, pharmaceuticals, and illicit drugs)   at river basin scale.

 

Monday 24th May

(From 16.25 to 17.10 hours)

Joseph M. Suflita

Energy Choices and Environmental Impacts: Lessons from the Anaerobes

Joseph M. Suflita is a George Lynn Cross Research Professor of Microbiology at the University of Oklahoma, the MAPCO Professor of Environmental Quality, and Director of the OU Institute for Energy and the Environment. His initial appointment to the OU faculty was in 1982 following the completion of his postdoctoral studies at Michigan State University and Ph.D. degree from Penn State University. He has authored more than 130 peer-reviewed publications, serves on the Science Advisory Board for SERDP (the U.S. Department of Defense environmental science and technology program) and Genome Canada’s research effort on Metagenomics for Hydrocarbon Energy.  He has served as an Associate Editor for the journal Environmental Science and Technology for 20 years.  He is a member of the American Society for Microbiology, AAAS, Sigma Xi and is a fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology. The major research goal of his Institute is to promote scholarship that leads to a greater understanding of the interrelationship between the human activities of energy exploration, recovery and exploitation and the impact of these activities on the environment. Dr. Suflita is particularly interested in energy related contaminants and their fate in the environment under anaerobic conditions. He tries to establish the pathways associated with contaminant biodegradation in the absence of oxygen, the rates at which they are biotransformed, the ecological boundaries of the metabolism, the types of microorganisms that may be involved, and the biochemical mechanisms associated with the metabolism. His research tends to focus on subterranean environments most notably aquifers and oil reservoirs, but he has recently turned his attention to problems associated with biocorrosion of the energy infrastructure.  He attempts to provide the basic scientific foundation upon which the solution for applied environmental problems can be built.

 

Tuesday 25th May

(From 16.25 to 17.10 hours) 

Michael Newman

Essential Imitation and Innovation in Ecotoxicology

The evolution of ecotoxicology as a science requires an insightful balance of innovation and retention of sound paradigms upon which regulations are based. This talk highlights the increasingly urgent need to re-examine failing paradigms while carefully preserving the regulatory framework built upon existing paradigms and methods. The innovation diffusion-imitation process applied by all social groups, including groups of scientists, will be explored. Then the science of ecotoxicology will be examined in this context, suggesting how best to decide what does or does not need changing, and how to best implement change.

Michael C. Newman is currently the A. Marshall Acuff, Jr. Professor of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary’s School of Marine Science where he also served as Dean of Graduate Studies from 1999 to 2002. Previously, he was a faculty member at the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory.  His research interests include quantitative ecotoxicology, environmental statistics, risk assessment, population effects of contaminants, metal chemistry, and bioaccumulation and biomagnification modelling. In addition to more than 115 articles, he authored five books and edited another five on these topics. A 2006 Mandarin translation of his Fundamentals of Ecotoxicology is available (Chemical Industry Press, Beijing) and Mandarin translation of his marine risk assessment book will appear in 2010. He taught at universities throughout the world and served a wide range of international, national, and regional organizations.  In 2004, the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry awarded him its Founder’s Award, “the highest SETAC award, given to a person with an outstanding career who has made a clearly identifiable contribution in the environmental sciences.”

 

Wednesday 26th May 

(From 16.25 to 17.10 hours)

Derek J. Knight

Challenges in REACh

The Regulation for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), which is administered by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), places the responsibility on industry to identify and manage risks from chemical substances.  Risk assessment is central in REACH:

  • The concept of targeting work by the different actors in the various processes to achieve maximum impact is based on potential risk, either expressly or implicitly.
  • Formal risk assessments are involved in many of the key processes.

Substances at 1 tonne or more per annum have to be registered with ECHA by submitting a dossier of information on the physicochemical, health and environmental properties, together with a Chemical Safety Report (CSR) if at 10 tonnes or more per annum.  Further data are required in stages, i.e. at 100 and 1,000 tonnes or more per annum, based on standard test requirements that are listed in technical annexes of the Regulation, together with rules on adapting these information requirements (e.g. omitting data or for when additional studies are triggered). As there are different ways to fulfil the information needs for registration it is important to keep in mind the purpose of the registration data:

  • to define and characterise the substance;
  • to identify the dangerous properties for hazard communication;
  • to identify and quantify the hazardous properties to use in the risk assessment;
  • to obtain data to estimate exposure for the risk assessment.

Non-confidential registration data will be published in a structured database for use by stakeholders and the public, and this information could  support research in estimating properties of chemicals.

The scientific challenges associated to all these processes and the ECHA’s views for getting scientifically sound approaches will be discussed.

Derek Knight, who is British, is the Senior Scientific Advisor to ECHA’s Executive Director.  For almost 19 years he headed a team of regulatory affairs professionals at a UK contract research organisation, specialising in safety assessments of chemical and biocides, but also covering a wide range projects for many regulatory schemes worldwide.  Before this he registered medicinal products and worked as a technical support chemist for a UK pharmaceutical manufacturer.  He has gained a broad understanding of the regulation of chemicals from the perspective of the various interested parties.  He is especially interested in approaches to hazard and risk assessment using non-standard data.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a Chartered Scientist and a Fellow of The Organisation of Professionals in Regulatory Affairs. His doctoral studies at the University of Oxford in the UK were in organosulphur chemistry.



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