SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
 
  18 August 2011
Volume 12 Issue 8
 

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The Air We Breathe: NorCal SETAC 21st Annual Meeting, 4-5 May 2011

Angela Perez, NorCal SETAC Vice President

For the first time, the Northern California (NorCal) Chapter of SETAC welcomed students and professionals to “Sac State,” a vibrant and lush campus of California State University, located in sunny Sacramento. This year’s meeting theme was “The Air That We Breathe: Current Research on the Sources and Effects of Air Toxics.” Where previous meetings focused largely on sediment and aquatic issues, this year’s topic offered an exciting platform to learn about the cascading effects of air contaminants and the cross-media interdependence of air toxics. This topic aligns well with SETAC North America and World Congress efforts to investigate air toxics and their role in multi-media effects. Judging by the positive turnout and support for this year’s meeting, our members agreed.

Our plenary session featured three leaders in air toxics research. The first speaker, Kent Pinkerton, Professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis, addressed the health effects of fine aerosols on human health and portrayed the assessment of health risk as a complex blend of hazard identification, dose-response assessment and exposure assessment. The second speaker, Martin Burger, a researcher from the UC Davis Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, brought to our attention the different types and sources of greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector. These gases—methane and nitrous oxide—may be a smaller slice of the emissions pie, but their longevity, once they are in the atmosphere, makes it important to understand where they are coming from, how much they are contributing and what we can do to reduce those emissions. The last speaker was Jorn Herner, Chief of the Climate Change Mitigation and Emissions Branch Research Division of the California Air Resources Board. Herner spoke about the development and implementation of several greenhouse gas reduction measures, specifically pertaining to the agency’s motor vehicle research.

Jenny Shaw from SETAC Journals at the 2011 NorCal SETAC annual meeting
Jenny Shaw from SETAC Journals at the 2011 NorCal SETAC annual meeting.

The meeting also featured two short courses on science communication and indoor air quality, a student mentor lunch and addresses by Janet Burris (SETAC North America) and Jenny Shaw (SETAC Journals). Platform and poster sessions were well attended and despite the economic challenges California is facing this year, all sectors (academic, government, non-profit and private sectors) were well represented and student attendance was strong.

Poster Session at the 2011 NorCal SETAC annual meeting at California State University, Sacramento. Poster Session at the 2011 NorCal SETAC annual meeting at California State University, Sacramento.
Poster Session at the 2011 NorCal SETAC annual meeting at California State University, Sacramento.

One of the most important aspects of NorCal SETAC meetings is always to support new talent and encourage student participation through student platform and poster presentation awards. The quality of work was exceptional from all students this year, leaving the Board of Directors wishing we could provide monetary awards for all who participated. This year’s student presentation awards went to Erica Fritsch, Laurel Plummer, Erica McKenzie, Jessica Carrier, Jackie Chan and Krista Callinan, all from UC Davis, and Xin Lin from UC Berkeley. In addition to a cash award, each student will also receive a year’s membership in both NorCal SETAC and SETAC North America. Congratulations to all of this year’s participants!

David Ostrach (3rd from left) from the NorCal SETAC Board of Directors presented awards to student presenters (from left) Krista Callinan, Erika Fritsch and Erica McKenzie.
David Ostrach (3rd from left) from the NorCal SETAC Board of Directors presented awards to student presenters (from left) Krista Callinan, Erika Fritsch and Erica McKenzie.

Author contact information: aperez@ChemRisk.com

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