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International Experts Reconvene to Develop an Ecological Risk Assessment Framework for Microplastics in the Great Lakes

FEB. 5, 2024 — Building from the first workshop held in September 2023, the International Joint Commission’s Microplastics Monitoring and Risk Assessment Working Group reconvened with interdisciplinary experts in Windsor, Ontario, Canada from January 17-18, 2024. OR&R's Research Coordinator Carlie Herring and Great Lakes Regional Coordinator Haley Dalian, within NOAA's Marine Debris Program, once again participated in this effort.

Experts came together in Ontario, Canada for a workshop led by the International Joint Commission's Microplastics Monitoring and Risk Assessment Working Group.

After developing a framework for microplastics monitoring across diverse environmental compartments, the group met this time to develop recommendations to inform a threshold-based ecological risk assessment framework for microplastics in the Great Lakes. The end goal of these discussions is to inform decision making for the monitoring and potential inclusion of microplastics as a sub-indicator for the State of the Great Lakes report within the binational Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

Led by co-chairs from the University of Toronto, McMaster University, and University of Waterloo, the group has incorporated significant input from the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project’s risk-based management framework. Consistent with the group’s emphasis on cross-regional collaboration, members from the Chesapeake Bay Plastic Pollution Action Team and Southern California Coastal Water Research Project were in attendance at this second workshop. Furthermore, new representatives including toxicologists, regulators, and risk assessors participated alongside the group’s previously involved researchers, agency staff, and contractor team.

Last updated Friday, February 9, 2024 10:09am PST