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Abstract Aerial View

ecoforum/SustRem 2023 - ITRC Training

The ITRC Training provided 12 CPD Points! 

As part of ecoforum/SustRem 2023 conference, ALGA, in partnership with Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) held a training on Friday 13th, 2023.

The training program was divided into 2 subjects.

  1. Contaminants of Emerging Concern - 9.00am to 12.00pm

  2. Microplastics - 1.00pm to 4.00pm

Each training started with a 30-minute Keynote, delivered by Brad Clarke, Senior Lecturer,
The University of Melbourne, to provide an Australian Context and closed with 30-minute Questions and Answers.

Contaminants of Emerging Concern 

The ITRC Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC) training presented an entirely new framework for identification, prioritization, and communication of CEC. 


This training included the following topics:

  1. An overview of the framework, how and why it was developed, the factors that influence the creation of CEC management units at the state level, and a listing of existing CEC monitoring programs.

  2. A discussion of key variables that may be used as criteria to identify and prioritize CEC for response actions.  This portion of the course includes a case study that illustrates how the identification and prioritization process works with an "unknown" chemical CEC (chloro-a,a,a-trifluorotoluene or 6-PPD-q).

  3. Practices and methods for stakeholder messaging and how to share incomplete information on CEC that could impact human health and the environment.  This module of the short course builds upon the ITRC Risk Communication Toolkit by providing additional detail addresses communications plans, message maps, and audience identification.

  4. A paradigm for how laboratory methods can be used to identify CEC ranging from: "Is compound X in the sample and at what concentration (known knowns?" to "Which compounds from the list are in this sample? (known unknowns)" and finally, "What is in the sample? (unknown unknowns)". CEC are typically compounds or substances whose occurrence or effect is unknown, but may or may not be understood through similar compounds or substances. This module includes a discussion of the use of targeted and untargeted analysis to identify a CEC and will raise the question of, "If we can identify it through a series of applied analytical methods, is it really a CEC?


The training concluded with a small group exercise to practice the use of the CEC identification process on emerged contaminants such as PFAS or Lithium so that the concepts are better assimilated through practice.  


Trainers were:

  • Paula Panzino, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ)

  • José Zambrana, Jr., Senior Science Advisor, US EPA Office of Research and Development


Because of their small size and pervasiveness in the environment, Microplastics (MP), along with any

other contaminants that are adsorbed to the MP or intentionally added through the manufacturing

process, may be consumed by humans and other organisms. Microplastics have been reported in

human blood, in the deep lung, and in placenta, meconium, and human excrement. The science

surrounding MP, their potential health effects, and knowledge of their fate and transport is very new

and ongoing, with research articles being published at a rapidly accelerating rate. Even techniques

and best practices for sample collection and analysis of these tiny particles and fibers are still very

much evolving. The ITRC MP guidance document was written for an individual who has a reasonable

level of scientific understanding, but not a lot of MP-specific knowledge. The guidance provides a user

with information on MP and the state of the applied science without having to go to the scientific


The training outlines were: 

  • An introduction to microplastics, their sources, and worldwide distribution 

  • The pathways through which microplastics can enter and travel in the environment and their distribution in various media (water, soil, sediment, air, and biota) 

  • A current look at the most common techniques and best practices for sampling and analyzing microplastics 

  • Potential human health and ecological risks associated with microplastics in the environment 

  • Environmental justice aspects of microplastics 

  • Best practices for risk communication of microplastics 

  • Strategies to approach microplastics as a continuous, diverse contaminant suite (sample collection, data reporting, analysis, etc.) 

  • An overview of existing regulations related to microplastics and macroplastics at the state, federal, and international levels with a specific focus on regulations within California. 

  • Examples of prevention and mitigation strategies and best management practices to reduce microplastics from entering the environment and the emerging technologies to abate, treat, and remediate microplastics once they exist in the environment 

  • Identification of data gaps and the need for further research 

  • Real-world case studies: 

    • San Francisco Bay Risk Characterization and Integrated Report Listing 

    • Large-scale monitoring and risk assessment of microplastics in the Amazon River 

Trainers were: 

  • Kim Nimmer, Senior Policy Analyst, City of Raleigh

  • Scott Coffin, California State Water Resources Control Board

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