Sharing Strategies to Move From Reactive to Proactive Approaches to Identify New Environmental Concerns

Horizon Scanning logo

Tuesday, April 30, 2024 • 9:00 a.m. – 3:20 p.m. EDT &
Tuesday, May 7, 2024 • 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. EDT


NIEHS convened a two-day virtual workshop on Horizon Scanning to proactively identify and improve responses to emerging contaminants, emergencies, and issues of concern. Horizon scanning activities engage experts in conversations to predict responses or capabilities that may be needed; scoping typically consists of compiling bits of information and working with a stakeholder to satisfy their needs.

NIEHS Workshop Organizing Team

Led by the Emerging Contaminants and Issues of Concern (ECIC) Program Management Team (Division of Translational Toxicology).

  • Chad Blystone, Ph.D., NIEHS
  • Helen Cunny, Ph.D., NIEHS
  • Suzanne Fenton, PhD., NC State University
  • Heather Henry, Ph.D., NIEHS
  • Ruth Lunn, Dr.P.H, M.S., NIEHS
  • Kyle Messier, Ph.D., NIEHS
  • Kirsten Overdahl, Ph.D., NIEHS
  • Sonika, Patial, D.V.M., Ph.D., NIEHS
  • Stephanie Smith-Roe, Ph.D., NIEHS

Workshop Goals

  • Advance horizon scanning methods or tools (for the scientific community) and inform a strategy or framework for addressing new environmental concerns.
  • Identify contaminants (e.g., chemicals, mixtures) in the environmental and biological samples (e.g., non-target chemical analyses).
  • Identify exposure sources and affected communities (e.g., mapping methodology, including environmental justice tools).
  • Identify issues of community concern (e.g., social media and crowd sourcing).
  • Provide a forum to share insights, coordination opportunities, and challenges for researchers, federal and state agencies, including research and regulatory agencies), non-government advocacy groups, and affected populations.

Anticipated Outcomes

The workshop was expected to benefit ECIC, NIEHS, and the scientific community at large and include:

  • Develop NIEHS (including ECIC) horizon-scanning approaches.
  • Establish a network or community of practice for sharing information about horizon scanning.
  • Identify key CEC stakeholders and initiate sharing of current methods from participating organizations involved in horizon scanning.
  • Whitepaper or journal publications summarizing existing tools, research gaps, guidance, or strategies for proactively identifying emerging contaminants or issues of concern and best practices for communicating hazard information to affected communities.


Day one focused on articulating the current scope of our abilities and technologies for horizon scanning; we also identified current gaps or weaknesses in those abilities. At the conclusion of Day one, participants were asked to consider what advancements in our abilities need to occur, and what a collaborate directed effort – a community of practice – may look like. 

Day two featured collaborative round-table discussion and workshop time to address these two questions, and to outline key needs and features for a community of practice. This collaborative half-day laid the groundwork for building an inter-agency, interdisciplinary community of practice for horizon scanning.

Day 1: Tuesday, April 30, 2024 (all times listed are Eastern Daylight Time)
9:00 a.m.Welcome and Introductory
Ruth Lunn, Dr.P.H., NIEHS
9:10 a.m.Plenary Session
Anticipating Tomorrow's Chemical Challenges: Empowering Policy Through Horizon Scanning
Christopher Green, Ph.D.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
UK Government
9:50 a.m.Session 1: Current Strategies
Chad Blystone, Ph.D and Heather Henry, Ph.D., NIEHS
9:55 a.m. The National Emerging Contaminant Research Initiative: Federal Interagency Strategy and Implementation Plan
Benjamin Place, Ph.D.
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
10:20 a.m.A Good Defense…
Accelerating the Identification of Emerging Chemicals of Concern
Rebecca Clewell, Ph.D., D.A.B.T.
Valerie Adams, Ph.D., D.A.B.T.
Department of Defense
10:45 a.m.Interstate Technology Regulatory Council (ITRC)
Contaminants of Emerging Concern Identification Framework
Vivek Mathrani, Ph.D., D.A.B.T.
Senior Toxicologist, California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC)
11:10 a.m.Session Discussion
Chad Blystone, Ph.D., NIEHS
Heather Henry, Ph.D., NIEHS
11:25 a.m.Break
11:35 a.m.Session 2: Research Gaps
Session Co-Chairs:
Kyle Messier, Ph.D., NIEHS
Kirsten Overdahl, Ph.D., NIEHS
11:40 a.m.The Additive Value of Wastewater Surveillance Across Community Space and Time: Past Precedent and Future Opportunities
Rochelle Holm, Ph.D.
Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute
University of Louisville
12:10 p.m.U.S. Climate Vulnerability Index: Who Are the Most Climate Vulnerable and Why?
Grace Tee Lewis, Ph.D.
Environmental Defense Fund
12:35 p.m.Lunch Break
1:15 p.m. Laying a Foundation for NTA at EPA: Expanding
Adoption, Utility, and Confidence
Elin Ulrich, Ph.D.
Environmental Protection Agency
1:40 p.m.Developing Strategies to Confidently Highlight and Identify Compounds of Interest in Complex Matrices
Christine Fisher, Ph.D.
Food and Drug Administration
2:05 p.m.Identifying Research Opportunities From Unconventional Sources: Intersections of Fields, Non-Traditional Solvers, and Outsider Ideas
Jennifer Couch, Ph.D.
National Cancer Institute
2:30 p.m. Session Discussion
Kyle Messier, Ph.D., NIEHS
Kirsten Overdahl, Ph.D., NIEHS
2:55 p.m.Think Tank: Where do we go from here?
Kirsten Overdahl, Ph.D., NIEHS
3:30 p.m.Closing
Heather Patisaul, Ph.D.
Scientific Director, Division of Translational Toxicology, NIEHS
4:00 p.m.Adjourn
Day 2: Tuesday, May 7, 2024 (all times listed are Eastern Daylight Time)
10:00 a.m.Round Table Discussion
12:30 p.m.Round Table Discussion (continued)
2:00 p.m.Closing