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In January 2008 the SETAC Europe Workshop "Aquatic Macrophyte Risk Assessment for Pesticides” (AMRAP) took place in Wageningen, Netherlands, and was attended by 41 macrophyte experts from academia, government and business from Europe and North America. The aim of the workshop was to provide recommendations for the use and interpretation of non-target aquatic macrophyte (higher plant) data in the risk assessment of plant protection products in Europe. During the workshop, an overview of the current European regulatory framework for the risk assessment of aquatic macrophytes was given and the uncertainties and areas for improvement within the regulatory framework were identified. Based on a discussion on the current state of the science of aquatic macrophyte testing, the extent to which existing methods could be used to address the uncertainties in the risk assessment, as well as recommendations for improving aquatic macrophyte testing methodologies and risk assessment were made.

Four working groups evolved from this workshop to target the following issues:

  1. A proposal for a modified aquatic macrophyte Tier 1 Risk Assessment scheme for Plant Protection Products in the EU including criteria when an additional macrophyte has to be tested (finished)
  2. Development of draft protocol for a laboratory toxicity test with Myriophyllum, to be pre-tested in 2009-2010 and ring-testing to begin in 2011;
  3. An overview of laboratory test methods for aquatic macrophytes other than Lemna
  4. Evaluation of species sensitivity distributions (SSDs) with aquatic macrophyte data for use in ecological risk assessment.

The discussions and conclusions of the AMRAP Workshop were published as a SETAC book entitled "Aquatic Macrophyte Risk Assessment for Pesticides" (Maltby et al. (eds.), 2009). This document includes a summary of the working group activities until spring 2009. A review of the book can be found in Ecotoxicology (www.springerlink.com/content/f2585461w04x0835).

In 2009 the Aquatic Macrophyte Ecotoxicology Group was established as a global SETAC Advisory Group. In recent years, a lack of scientific knowledge was identified in the field of terrestrial plant ecotoxicology and terrestrial plant risk assessment. Since this field of expertise is closely linked to the focus of the Aquatic Macrophyte Ecotoxicology Group, the Steering Committee elected to expand the scope and mission of AMEG to include terrestrial plants also. Along with the broadening of the scope, the name of the advisory group was changed to Plants Advisory Group (Plants AG) in November 2013.

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