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North America Interest Groups: Aquatic Toxicity Testing
Stephen L. Clark


Participation in Aquatic Toxicity Testing Interest Group (ATT IG) is open to all interested parties. If you are not already a member, make sure you are signed in to your SETAC account then click “Join Group” near the top of this page.


The mission of the ATT IG is to work under the SETAC umbrella to advance the science for aquatic toxicity testing methods for effluents and receiving waters used in North America. The ATT IG will focus on promoting improvements in current testing methods, including advancing emerging in vivo and in vitro methods.


  • Serve as a scientific forum for all stakeholders interested in the mission of the IG.
  • Sponsor events (e.g., meetings, sessions, webinars) and publications within SETAC North America Meeting that advance the mission of the IG.


The ATT IG Steering Committee holds periodic meeting (in person and virtual) that are open to all members. Please contact the chairs for further information.


Aquatic toxicity testing protocols for effluents and ambient waters have been applied in regulatory settings in North America for nearly 40 years. Early in the development of the methods, the goals were to establish reproducible protocols that could be applied in laboratory settings and to educate regional regulatory agencies that would require the methods. This was followed by efforts in the 1990s to educate the laboratory community in the methods to build laboratory capacity and capabilities. SETAC North America played a significant role in those education efforts through supporting courses on Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) and related Toxicity Identification Evaluation (TIE), as well as sessions at meetings. These efforts greatly improved the understanding of the methods by regulatory agencies and improved the organism culture and testing capabilities of laboratories.

Significant progress has occurred in the filed in the last 10 years. New methods are under development to add to the toolbox of in vivo test methods that can be applied in regulatory settings, as well as in vitro test methods that can reduce whole organism uses and give additional insights into mechanisms of action from contaminant classes (e.g., endocrine disruptors). Significant work has gone into the identification of new test interferences, varying test outcomes depending on available control waters, sources of laboratory variability, challenges in developing consistency in the regulatory application of the methods, and a need to improve laboratory accreditation (i.e., within lab training requirements) and audits. These factors combined have led a group of SETACers to form an IG in 2019  to address issues related to aquatic toxicity testing of effluents and ambient waters under the SETAC umbrella.

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