2011 Annual Technical Meeting: “REACHing maximum impact”

This year’s Annual Technical Meeting (ATM) was constructed around a simple idea: to showcase the efforts and products of ECETOC task forces. While many scientists have dedicated time and effort over the years to task forces in their area of special expertise, they may never have had the opportunity to see the bigger effort to which they are contributing. The Board and the Scientific Committee were keen to remedy this, by holding an ATM by the task forces, for the task forces.

The primary, and unifying idea, was to spread awareness of ECETOC’s activities amongst the biggest contributors. With this in mind, all of our current or recent task forces were invited to present their products. In some cases this was a finished report in other cases it was interim findings.

The secondary objective was to highlight and discuss the impact of ECETOC’s activities in the context of REACH. As member companies have now finished their first round of submissions, this is an excellent moment to review the extent to which our activities have been useful to member companies in fulfilling their obligations under the legislation. The morning session started with environmental taskforces, with a review by Dr Jason Snape of ECETOC’s activities and impact in the fields of environmental fate and persistence of chemicals. This was followed by a presentation from Dr Todd Gouin, of ECETOC’s on-going activities concerning environmental risk assessment of pharmaceuticals.

The morning session was rounded off by Dr Kim Travis who presented the interim findings of the “low dose interactions” task force. This task force will be presenting more of their conclusions at the Berlin workshop on co-exposure in July.

There followed a working buffet lunch with posters attended by task force members. Ten excellent posters were on display from taskforces that were not making presentations. Although we allowed an hour and a half for this session, some people commented that it wasn’t long enough. Clearly, this session was a great networking opportunity and much appreciated by the participants.

We started the afternoon with three topical task forces. Dr Remi Bars presented the proposals from the endocrine disruptors task force, which had been presented at a workshop in Florence the month before. Dr Johannes Tolls presented the current status of the Targeted Risk Assessment, which is now part of the official ECHA IT tool “CHESAR” and Dr Mark Pemberton presented the Results of the derived no-effect level (DNEL) task force, which has also been widely used by industry in their REACH submissions.

The final session was prospective in nature, with Mr Chris Money summarising an ECETOC internal brainstorming workshop on “REACH science needs” held in March. This workshop had been very popular and served to identify which ECETOC activities would be most useful in filling science gaps as REACH is implemented. This final ATM session was concluded via panel discussion led by Dr Fraser Lewis, chairman of the Scientific Committee. The ideas that have emerged were well received and will become the basis of the next years’ program.