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History of SETAC
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In the 1970s, no forum existed for interdisciplinary communication among environmental scientists—biologists, chemists, toxicologists—as well as managers and engineers others interested in environmental issues. The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) was founded in North America in 1979 to fill the void. Based on the dynamic growth in the Society’s membership, meeting attendance and publications, the forum was clearly needed. SETAC has two administrative offices, in Pensacola, Florida, USA, established in 1990, and in Brussels, Belgium, established in 2003.

A unique strength of SETAC is its commitment to balance the scientific interests of government, academia and business. The Society by-laws mandate equal representation from these three sectors for officers, World Council, Geographic Unit Boards of Directors and Councils, and Committee members and governance of activities. The proportion of members from each of the three sectors has remained nearly equal over the years.

SETAC publishes two globally esteemed scientific journals and convenes annual meetings around the world, showcasing cutting-edge science in poster and platform presentations. Because of its multidisciplinary approach, the scope of the science of SETAC is broader in concept and application than that of many other societies.

The Society is concerned about global environmental issues. Its members are committed to Environmental Quality through Science®, to timely and effective communication of research, and to interactions among professionals so that enhanced knowledge and increased personal exchanges occur. SETAC’s growth has been marked the establishment of geographic units around the world: SETAC Europe in 1989, SETAC Asia/Pacific in 1997, SETAC Latin America in 1999 and SETAC Africa in 2012. As evidence of international acceptance of the SETAC model and of the great interest at the local level, regional chapters of the geographic units are being considered for a number of countries.

Membership and Annual Meetings

Membership has increased from 230 Charter Members in October 1980 in North America to the present level of over 6,000 members from more than 100 countries. Participants and technical presentations at SETAC annual meetings have increased from 470 attendees and 86 presentations in 1980 to some 2,500 participants and nearly 1,900 presentations at annual meetings in North America and Europe, with smaller, but still substantial participation at biennial meetings in Asia/Pacific, Latin America and Africa.


Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, an internationally acclaimed scientific journal, has grown from a quarterly publication of fewer than 400 pages annually in 1980 to a monthly publication of nearly 3,000 pages annually.

Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, launched in 2005 to bridge the gap between scientific research and it application in environmental decision-making, regulation and management, has become a well-respected quarterly publication of 700 pages annually.

SETAC Books total more than 100, encompassing workshop results and other scientific studies.

SETAC World Council (SWC)

The 15-person SWC became effective in 2002 to promote international communication of environmental issues through research and education. The SWC facilitates worldwide outreach to environmental scientists, engineers, and managers and encourages development of additional SETAC member groups. The geographic units are represented on the Council, with representation keyed to their relative shares of membership. The SETAC Global Executive Director position was created in 2006 to support the development of a strong program of science and activities around the world and to coordinate the programs of the geographic units.