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Sediment Risk Assessment Session at SETAC NA (Minneapolis)

Posted By Paul K. Sibley, Thursday, May 25, 2017

Dear SEDIG members;

The deadline for submitting an abstract to the SETAC North America meeting in Minneapolis is fast approaching. I am writing to remind you of the SEDIG-sponsored sediment session titled "Current and Future Challenges in Sediment Toxicity Testing for Environmental Risk Assessment" (Chairs: Henry Krueger, Paul Sibley, Teresa Norberg-King, and Matt McCoole). The abstract for the session is attached and can be viewed on-line as part of the abstract submission process.

I look forward to seeing many of you in Minneapolis!


Paul Sibley


Download File (DOCX)

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Laboratory Method: Bioaccumulation of sediment-associated contaminants in freshwater organisms

Posted By Trudy Watson-Leung, Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Hi Sediment Interest Group Members,

I just wanted to let the group know that the Ontario Ministry of the Environment 28-day Hexagenia spp., Lumbriculus variegatus and fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) Freshwater Sediment Bioaccumulation Test Method document is now readily available online at

A big thank you goes out to all the members of this group who helped with the peer review of the document and the inter-laboratory study participants.

Feel free to email me if you have any questions about the method.

Trudy Watson-Leung



Tags:  bioaccumlation  Hexagenia  Lumbriculus  methods  minnows 

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Priority questions from the SETAC Science Committee

Posted By Tamara L. Sorell, Sunday, February 12, 2017

The SETAC Science committee, on behalf of the SETAC Board, has asked the IGs to assist in identifying priority research questions that might warrant a SETAC Focus Topic Meeting or workshop. 


Please take a few minutes and respond to this blog with your thoughts this week.


1.       What are the best methods to measure bioavailable/freely-dissolved/chemical activity of organic chemicals and metals in environmental media?

2.       How do we develop methods to identify and quantify nano- and microplastics in different environmental compartments (water, sediment, soil, biota) associated with potential toxicity or interactions with other contaminants?

3.       How can we strengthen the environmental quality criteria system (e.g, water, sediment, soil, air) to adequately protect ecosystems that are experiencing multiple stressors and changing climate?

4.       Do you have any other ideas or research priorities that may pertain to sediments?


The Ecological Risk IG has sparked a lively discussion on research questions for that IG and I look forward to a similar response on sediments!

Tags:  Focus Meeting; workshop  priorities  research  Science Committee  SETAC Board 

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SETAC North America 38th Annual Meeting

Posted By Tamara L. Sorell, Wednesday, February 8, 2017
The session proposal deadline for Minneapolis is in two weeks!  SEDIG would love to work with you and sponsor a session that is related to sediments.  Please post your ideas here  or contact me directly and let us know if your proposed session has a sediment focus.  SEDIG can help with review, promotion and abstract recruitment to make your session a success.  If you have already submitted a proposal and would like SEDIG sponsorship let me know.  Thanks!

Tags:  abstract  meeting  Minneapolis  North America  session 

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Sediment Interest Group 2016 Year-End updates

Posted By Tamara L. Sorell, Friday, December 16, 2016

Thank you to everyone who has supported this Interest Group and in particular everyone who took the time to attend the meeting last month in Orlando.   I am posting two sets of notes: one from our SEDIG meeting, and one from the Interest Group Summit provided via e-mail a few days ago by Tamar Schlekat, the incoming  SETAC Scientific Affairs Manager (a Tamar and a Tamara - sorry for the confusion - who would have thought?).

As of now there is no SEDIG meeting planned for the SETAC Europe meeting in Brussels next May.  No one at the Orlando meeting indicated that s/he was planning to attend.  If anyone is planning to be in Brussels and would like to run a meeting please go ahead and request meeting space.  I can assist with that as necessary.  

If anyone is interested in serving on the Steering Committee please speak up!  While we do not have a formal set of rules for tenure, we should be rotating leadership every couple years to keep the Interest Group fresh.

Thank you and a happy holiday season to all!



 Attached Files:

Tags:  2016  meetings  Orlando  summit 

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Advisory Group Meeting Next Week

Posted By Tamara L. Sorell, Friday, November 4, 2016
If you plan to be in Orlando please be sure to join us at the SEDAG Meeting Wed. at noon in St. John's 30. 

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SETAC Europe Sediment Session: Future challenges in sediment toxicity testing for environmental risk assessment

Posted By Paul K. Sibley, Monday, October 10, 2016

Dear SEDAG Members:


it is our pleasure to invite you to submit an abstract for a platform and/or poster presentation in the session on Future challenges in sediment toxicity testing for environmental risk assessment (under track 4-Ecological Risk Assessment and Human Health Risk Assessment of chemicals, other stressors and mixtures) at the next SETAC Europe Annual Meeting in Brussels, Belgium, 7-11 May 2017. You will find the session summary at the end of this message.

Please note that the deadline for submission will be November 23, 2016.
Thanks in advance for your interest.
We are really looking forward to reading your abstract and hopefully to seeing you at the SETAC Europe 2017 Annual Meeting in Belgium!



Your Sessions Chairs,

Daniel Faber - Bayer CropScience AG
Paul Sibley - School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph
Theo Brock – Alterra,  Wageningen University and Research
Hank Krueger - Wildlife International



---Session Summary---


Sediment toxicity testing is gaining an increasing awareness within the scientific community. In 2015, a scientific opinion on environmental risk assessment for sediment organisms was published by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)1. This scientific opinion is of high interest for risk assessors and aquatic ecotoxicologists because so far, only the Tier 1 risk assessment for sediment organisms was addressed in the existing aquatic guidance document published in 2013 by EFSA2. In addition the European CHemicals Agency (ECHA) updated the sediment part of the “Guidance on Information Requirements & Chemical Safety Assessment”3 in February 2016. The number of currently available standardized and validated OECD guidelines is limited. These tests mainly cover invertebrates (e.g. Chironomus riparius, Lumbriculus variegatus). One adopted guideline on a sediment test with the macrophyte Myriophylum is available. In addition, a few ISO sediment guidelines are available, e.g. for the nematode Caenorhabdites elegans. 4
In North America, sediment toxicity is considered differently within the risk assessment as reflected by the ASTM and US EPA guidelines. In addition, a higher number of standardised test methods are available (e.g. Hyalella azteca, Chironomus dilutus, Leptocheirus plumulosus). There are a number of important differences between the OECD and US EPA guidelines5, including the use of field collected or artificial sediment, equilibration time, and flow-through or static test design. These test method differences lead to changes in the physico-chemistry of the sediment, in the bioavailability of the test compound, and the concentrations of the test substance in the overlying water, pore water, and bulk sediment. Due to these differences, the test results of studies performed according to OECD and US EPA test methods are difficult to compare.
In recent years, it has been discussed which matrix (pore water, water, sediment, bulk sediment, total loading) should be used to determine effects endpoints. Most test organisms are epi-benthic and live on the sediment surface and not within the sediment. A clear correlation between pore water concentrations and observed effects does not exist. Therefore, being aware of discrepancies between OECD and North American methods on the one hand and between EFSA and ECHA guidances on the other hand, some common issues need to be considered, including the relevant route of exposure, as well as how to express test results to be used in the risk assessment.
Within the session, we will address the differences between the guidelines and the consequences of the different approaches for an ERA using data from both sources and guidance. As the bioavailability in the different test systems is not directly comparable and different main uptake pathways exist for the different taxonomic groups and species, it should be discussed whether approaches as lined out in the scientific opinion are practically feasible.
1“Scientific Opinion on the effect assessment for pesticides on sediment organisms in edge-of-field surface water” EFSA, 2015
2“Guidance on tiered RA for plant protection products for aquatic organisms in edge-of-field surface waters” EFSA, 2013.
3 “Guidance on Information Requirements & Chemical Safety Assessment” ECHA, 2016
4 “International Organization for Standardization guideline 10872, 2010”
5 “Toxicity Testing and Ecological Risk Assessment Guidance for Benthic Invertebrates” US-EPA, 2014

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Free Resource: "SEDIMENT QUALITY ASSESSMENT: A Practical Guide"

Posted By Trudy Watson-Leung, Thursday, September 22, 2016

Free Download:


"Environmental practitioners are seeking guidance on how to incorporate the latest science in their assessment of contaminated sediments, while relating their investigations to the recommended guideline frameworks, and proposed new or revised guideline values for sediment quality, at a time when the science is still being developed. This handbook therefore attempts to summarise the advances and provide information to guide future sediment quality assessment investigations. The book both reviews the existing literature and recommends best ways to apply these findings, while describing approaches for measuring the various lines of evidence. As new lines of evidence are continuing to be developed, future sediment quality assessments may also incorporate those. A general approach is proposed, recognising that assessments frequently need to be custom-designed and lines of evidence chosen to suit the site-specific circumstances (such as site dynamics, sediment stability, groundwater flows, and fluctuating overlying water conditions). The focus on sediment quality assessment, at least in Australia, has largely been in estuarine and coastal marine environments, but the principles are equally applicable to freshwater systems, and guidance is therefore also provided in this book for freshwater toxicity testing and ecological assessment procedures for freshwater environments."

Stuart L. Simpson Graeme E. Batley

Tags:  resources 

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Sediment Advisory Group Meeting

Posted By Tamara L. Sorell, Monday, September 12, 2016

Hello SETAC Sediment Advisory Group members.  We have been assigned a meeting time and place in Orlando:

Wed. November 9, 12:00-1:00 PM, St. John's 30.

Please join if you can and invite others who may be interested in sediments.  For those who have a conflict we can try to catch up at another point during the meeting.  Hope to see as many of you as possible in Orlando!  Thanks, Tamara

Tags:  meeting  orlando  sediment  SETAC-NA 

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Consider submitting an abstract for the sediment session (Nov 2016): Science of Sediment Toxicity Testing: Method Advances, Interpreting Results and Use of Data in Ecological Risk Assessments

Posted By Teresa J. Norberg-King, Sunday, May 22, 2016

We are organizing a session "Science of Sediment Toxicity Testing: Method Advances, Interpreting Results and Use of Data in Ecological Risk Assessments".  

Conducting laboratory toxicity tests with field collected sediments remains a primary tool for retrospective assessment of potentially contaminated sites, but there is also an increasing use of spiked sediment testing for prospective risk assessment of pesticides and other commercial products. Various acute, short-term and chronic toxicity testing guidelines for freshwater (Chironomus, Hyalella) and marine (Leptocheirus) organisms are available. The guidelines have applicability for both prospective and retrospective risk assessment. Substantial progress has been made in improving the consistency, reproducibility and data quality of tests, substantial effort towards advancing these methods. Data interpretation and the establishment of causal relationships between exposure and effects are made challenging by the multitude of factors that influence bioavailability as well as non-contaminant related variables that may affect test organism performance (e.g., sediment grain size, type and quantity of organic carbon, feeding regimes, overlying water types and frequency, predators). If sediment toxicity data is to be used for prospective risk assessment of pesticides or other potential benthic contaminants, there is a need to establish definitive effect thresholds for species based on quantification of exposure in various matrices within test systems (i.e. sediment, pore water, and overlying water). However, quantification of highly hydrophobic chemicals in pore water can be analytically challenging. Therefore, alternatives for estimating exposure may be needed, such as the application of equilibrium partitioning theory. The goal of this session is to highlight applied and theoretical innovations associated with sediment toxicity testing, including but not limited to the topics above, to improve test performance, interpretation of study results, and reduce uncertainty in the application of sediment toxicity data for ecological risk assessment. 

Please contact me if you have any questions or want to discuss ideas for the session!  

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