Communicating Risk: Paul DeLeo and Blair Paulik Go Virtual at SETAC SciCon
May 1, 2020

With the spread of COVID-19, conferences are being canceled worldwide. The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) is offering another way to interact—replacing the SETAC-Europe in-person conference with a virtual conference called SETAC SciCon. 

Integral scientists Paul DeLeo, Ph.D., and Blair Paulik, Ph.D., will deliver online poster presentations on topics ranging from risk communication to ecological risk assessment of disinfectants.  Dr. Paulik will also chair a session on stakeholder engagement on environmental management in Africa. Join them on May 3–7, 2020, in the virtual space.

Do Disinfectants Pose Ecological Risk?

The global coronavirus pandemic has led to widespread and frequent use of surface disinfectants including “Quats,” or quaternary ammonium compounds.  Quats have diverse uses in a variety of consumer and commercial products, particularly as cleaning products. Most people know they should not be ingested—but do they have ecological impacts if they are disposed of down the drain?

Dr. DeLeo will present a poster on “Assessment of Ecological Hazards and Environmental Fate of Disinfectant Quaternary Ammonium Surfactants.” In this poster presentation, Dr. DeLeo summarizes the available environmental safety data to characterize the ecotoxicological hazard and environmental fate of disinfectant Quats, particularly alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (ADBAC) and dialkyl dimethyl ammonium chloride (DDAC). Poster coauthors include Mala Pattanayek, Yasemin Atalay, Carolyn Huynh, and Nathan Pechacek.

How Should Scientists Communicate Risk?

What do scientists need to do to effectively account for cultural and/or religious norms in science and risk communication?  How can scientists effectively build trust when communicating with community stakeholders? Dr. Paulik will chair a session that answers these questions and more in “Evidence-Informed Policymaking and Stakeholder Engagement on Environmental Management in Africa.” During this session, Dr. Paulik will describe what needs to be done to empower scientists to deliver on their responsibility to communicate their findings to the public.  She is cochairing the session with Temitope Olawunmi Sogbanmu, Annegaaike Leopold, Beatrice Opeolu, and Thomas-Benjamin Seiler.

Dr. Paulik will also present a poster titled “The First Risk Communication Training Course Held in Cape Town at SETAC Africa’s 9th Biennial Meeting.” Poster coauthors are Annegaaike Leopold, Beatrice Opeolu, and Thomas-Benjamin Seiler.

To learn more, contact Dr. DeLeo at or Dr. Paulik at