SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
7 September 2017
Volume 18 Issue 9
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A Brief History of the Brazilian Society of Ecotoxicology

Alexandre Arenzon, SETAC Latin America Board of Directors ECOTOX Brazil Representative

Earlier this year, the SETAC World Council voted to officially recognize the Brazilian Society of Ecotoxicology (ECOTOX-Brasil) as a chapter of SETAC Latin America. ECOTOX-Brasil was founded in 1998, but its history began much earlier. In 1991, two small events brought together researchers and Brazilian entities working in ecotoxicology. PETROBRAS promoted the 1st Technical Meeting of Ecotoxicology in Rio de Janeiro, RJ, providing several laboratories a forum to present their unit research results. A few months later, the 1st Ecotoxicology Meeting was held on the Riocell S.A. premises, which is currently the CMPC, both paper and pulp companies in the city of Guaíba, RS. 

ECOTOX Brasil logo

The participants of the event at Riocell were motivated and enthusiastic, and they organized the II Ecotoxicology Meeting in 1992 and a third edition the following year. The number of participants grew, and the event was renamed a “Congress,” but it maintained the numerical sequence. And so, the III Brazilian Congress of Ecotoxicology (III ECOTOX) emerged. The events became biennial, and participants from most of the Brazilian states as well as from other Latin American countries, the United States, France and Portugal started to attend.

Because most of the funding support came through professionals connected to the academic sector, the ECOTOX meetings ended up maintaining a primarily academic profile, although the organizing committees often comprised professionals working in government and business. This configuration was similar for the IV ECOTOX, held in Salvador, BA, in 1996 and V ECOTOX, held in Itajaí, SC, in 1998 – both had a greater participation of attendees connected to academia, mainly undergraduate and graduate students.

V ECOTOX had around 400 participants and was attended by SETAC representatives. It was during this event that meetings and discussions were held regarding the creation of the Brazilian Society of Ecotoxicology. From this milestone, the Brazilian Congresses of Ecotoxicology became the responsibility and main objective of the newly formed Brazilian Society of Ecotoxicology.

Over the next several years, the ECOTOX congresses from São Carlos, SP, in 2000, and Vitória, ES, in 2002, through to Bombinhas, SC, in 2010 had a growing audience as well as increased participation from Latin American countries such as Argentina, Peru, Chile and Uruguay, and beyond, including the United States, England, Portugal, Germany and France. At the ECOTOX XI congress held in Bombinhas, SETAC Latin America proposed a union between the two societies. Members of ECOTOX-Brasil would become members of SETAC, and ECOTOX-Brasil itself would become a regional chapter of SETAC Latin America. In 2011, the proposal was reviewed and approved.

Ecotox-Brasil continues to host successful ECOTOX congresses, with attendance growing to around 1,000 attendees, who now come from all Brazilians states and almost 15 countries. The XV ECOTOX will take place in Aracaju, SE, in September 2018, and expanded participation is expected. It is noteworthy that in recent events, the Brazilian Society of Ecotoxicology has made a significant effort to promote the participation of attendees from government and business, which has resulted in slightly higher attendance from these sectors than previously.

Today, almost 20 years after its formation, ECOTOX-Brasil has 250 members, of which 33% are students and 67% are professionals from academia, government and business. ECOTOX-Brasil is managed by an elected board of directors, who serve two year terms. The Brazilian Society of Ecotoxicology has maintained a board of directors with members from several Brazilians states, which allows for a broader discussion as well as a priority of actions.

Over the last 5 years, a closer relationship was established with SETAC. Working together, the two societies can better promote sponsored events, and the professional advantages of belonging to both societies are constantly reinforced at the member level. In addition to organizing the Brazilian Congress of Ecotoxicology, ECOTOX-Brasil has been dedicated to promoting courses, workshops and other scientific meetings in regions with little or no representation in the field of ecotoxicology. We also continue to work on partnerships with foreign professionals in order to support training in underdeveloped regions of Brazil.

For more information about the Brazilian Society of Ecotoxicology, visit ecotoxbrasil.org.br.

For more information about SETAC Latin America, visit setac.org.

Past ECOTOX Meetings

1991 - 1st Technical Meeting of Ecotoxicology, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
1991 - 1st Ecotoxicology Meeting, Guaíba, RS
1992- II Ecotoxicology Meeting, Rio Grande, RS
1993 - III Brazilian Congress of Ecotoxicology (III ECOTOX), Tramandai, RS
1996 - IV ECOTOX, Salvador, BA
1998 - V ECOTOX - Itajaí, SC
2000 - VI ECOTOX - São Carlos, SP
2002 - VII ECOTOX - Vitória, ES
2004 - VIII ECOTOX - Florianópolis - SC
2006 - IX ECOTOX - São Pedro, SP
2008 - X ECOTOX, Bento Gonçalves, RS
2010 - XI ECOTOX, Bombinhas, SC
2012 - XII ECOTOX, Porto de Galinhas, PE
2014 - XIII ECOTOX, Guarapari, ES
2016 - XIV ECOTOX, Curitiba, PR

Author’s contact information: alex@ufrgs.br

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