SETAC SciCon2 Recap

Meredith E. Seeley, Dr. Violet Renick & Dr. Susanne Brander

The 2020 Annual North America meeting, SciCon2, was a plast-tastic success! We had over 30 presentations and posters in our session “Micro- and Nanoplastics: Harmonizing Methods & Addressing Research Challenges”, and more microplastic work was found throughout other meeting sessions. You can read more about the new and exciting research on our twitter account.

A topical mixer allowed attendees to gather and discuss current topics in microplastics research virtually. About half of attendees were from academia, while 40% were from government and 10% from industry. Of these, only about half were already members, showing our growing research field and interest base! The word cloud below illustrates the many reasons people joined us for this virtual live session.

Participants broke into working groups to discuss specific topics, including plastic fate & effects, chemistry, ID technology, nanoplastics, regulation and monitoring solutions, and cross-disciplinary research needs. Common themes in group reports included:

· the need for accessible open data, with details to enable comparison between studies

· the challenges behind translating laboratory work to natural environment

· expansion of fiber research, on distribution and effects

· nanoplastic technique expansion needs

· strategies for increasing collaboration across sectors

· adding long-term monitoring sites, looking at both sources and sinks of plastic debris

· of course, standardization of sampling and ID methodologies

Attendees also shared their interest in attending a SETAC focused topic meeting on microplastics in the future. Members hoped that this meeting would address research needs/harmonization, regulation and monitoring solutions, fate and effects synthesis, and nanoplastics research. More to come on a SETAC focus topic meeting!

Finally, participants were polled for their favorite at home single use plastics swaps. Here’s what they said:

We hope this provides you some inspiration, and to see you at our next meeting!

Published on 1 March 2021