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Global Advisory Groups: Exposure Modeling

2015 EMAG Report 

2013 EMAG Report

2012 EMAG Report

2011 EMAG Report

What is EMAG?

The Exposure Modeling Advisory Group (EMAG) is an advisory group within the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) that is accountable to the SETAC World Council. The group was established in May 2008 to provide a collegial home within the Society for scientists and decision-makers interested in modeling the properties, sources, environmental fate and exposure of environmental pollutants.

Objectives of the EMAG

The Exposure Modeling Advisory Group is committed to the founding principles of SETAC:

  1. A multidisciplinary approach to solving environmental problems
  2. A balanced representation of academia, business and government
  3. Science-based objectivity

The goals of the EMAG group are threefold:

  1. To encourage the scientific development of quantitative models to describe the behavior and exposure pathways of chemical, biological and physical contaminants in the environment and for human and ecological populations. Examples include, but are not limited to, models of source-to-concentration relationships in defined systems, models to estimate overall persistence and long-range transport potential of contaminants, models of bioaccumulation of contaminants by individual organisms or in food webs, models of human exposure to chemicals, biological agents or nanomaterials by multiple pathways, and pharmacokinetic models of the distribution of chemicals, biological agents and nanomaterials in the bodies of exposed humans or animals.
  2. To encourage the development of a sound data-basis to support the application of models in scientific studies and policy-making activities for chemicals, biological agents and nanomaterials of environmental interest. This includes:
    1. physical properties and degradation rates
    2. emissions inventories
    3. monitoring data for environmental media (air, water, soil, sediments and vegetation) and biota from locations near areas of use and release and at remote, background sites.
  3. To encourage and support the use of scientifically sound models by decision-makers to formulate effective management of chemicals, biological agents and nanomaterials, and by scientists to more effectively interpret monitoring data on contaminant concentrations in the environment.

EMAG Background and History

An advisory group for environmental fate and exposure modeling has existed in some form within SETAC for over 15 years. A group was initially formed in the mid-1990s, with Professor Don Mackay (Trent University, Canada) as the first chairperson, and was an outcome of a Pellston Workshop on multimedia modeling of environmental contaminants. The group was originally accountable to the North American branch of SETAC. Under Don’s leadership the group was active in the late 1990s with scientific sessions at the annual meetings in North America, and regular communication through the SETAC Globe. Around 2000, the chairpersonship of the group was passed to Dr. Debbie Bennett (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA) who organized both social and scientific meetings of the advisory group at SETAC conferences in North America and edited the Globe column. In about 2003, Dr. Randy Maddelena (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA) took over as chairperson, and in 2005 Dr. Matthew MacLeod (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland) joined as co-chairperson. Dr. MacLeod took over as chairperson of the North American Fate and Exposure Modeling Advisory Group in 2006.

In 2007 a proposal to establish the Exposure Modeling Advisory Group as at the Global level of SETAC was drafted by existing members of the North American group and volunteers recruited at the SETAC Europe meeting. The proposal was accepted by the SETAC World Council at their meeting in May of 2008, and the EMAG group in its current form was officially born.

Organization of the EMAG

The Exposure Modeling Advisory Group is lead by one or more Chairperson and a Steering Committee made up of SETAC members that are appointed by the President of SETAC. The Chairperson(s) and the Steering Committee provide leadership and initiative to carry out the goals of the Group, and co-ordinate their activities through meetings at the SETAC conferences and regular communication by email. Membership in the EMAG is open to all interested persons, whether they are SETAC members or not.

Current EMAG Steering Committee Members

Todd Gouin (Chair), Unilever, Sharnbrook, UK [Industry]

Ilias Kavouras, University of Arkansas, Little Rock, Arkansas [Academia]

Arjen Markus, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands [Academia]

Thomas E. McKone, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Energy Analysis and Impact Assessments Department, Berkeley, California, USA [Academia/Government]

Emma Undeman, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden [Academia]

How to Become a Member of EMAG

SETAC members and non-members can join the EMAG Advisory Group by logging into your SETAC profile and clicking join at the top of the advisory group page.

EMAG Activities and Updates

March 2012
A scientific paper submitted to the SETAC journal Integrated Environmental Assessment & Management co-authored by EMAG group members and their collaborators was recently accepted for publication and is available on the IEA&M website ( The article addresses the need for multimedia chemical fate & transport models used for regulatory and decision making purposes to be formulated and implemented using Good Modeling Practices (GMP) to ensure transparency and adherence to accepted scientific principles. Several principles are identified and discussed, including: setting specific goals; specifying the model to be used and what data will go into it; specifying what output data are needed; conducting sensitivity and uncertainty analyses; and specifying the limits of the analysis. This paper is the result of a three year long collaborative effort.

Citation: Buser A.M., MacLeod M., Scheringer M., Mackay D., Bonnell M., Russell M.H., DePinto J.V., Hungerbühler K., Good modeling practice guidelines for applying multimedia models in chemical assessments. Integrated Environmental Assessment & Management, Article first published online: March 29, 2012.

August 2011
EMAG members Louis Thibodeaux and Justin Birdwell convened an Environmental Chemistry Division session at the 242nd American Chemical Society Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado titled "Recent advances in the study of environmental mass transport phenomena”.

October 2010
CRC press published, "Handbook of Chemical Mass Transport in the Environment”, an edited volume containing 21 chapters with information on 41 environmental transport processes. The book was organized and edited by EMAG members Louis Thibodeaux and Don Mackay. Several EMAG members contributed chapters and served as reviewers. Complete details and a chapter list can be found on the CRC Press website:

May 2010
The EMAG held a highly successful scientific session at the SETAC Europe Meeting in Seville, Spain. The session was co-chaired by Dr. MacLeod and Prof. Michael Matthies of the University of Osnabruck, Germany. Interest in the session was high, with an estimated 150 people attending.

Related Group News

Submit an Abstract for the 2016 SETAC World Congress
Posted in Annual Meetings, Friday, May 20, 2016

Abstract submission is now open for the 7th SETAC World Congress/SETAC North America 37th Annual Meeting, Fostering Environmental Science for an Ever-Changing World, taking place ... more »

 View All News »

Todd Gouin


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