Keith R Solomon Recognized with the IUPAC International Award for Advances in Harmonized Approaches to Crop Protection Chemistry

On February 6, 2023, the IUPAC Division of Chemistry and the Environment, Advisory Committee on Crop Protection Chemistry announced that the 2023 IUPAC International Award for Advances in Harmonized Approaches to Crop Protection Chemistry will be presented to Professor Keith R. Solomon, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph in Guelph, Canada. Professor Solomon is recognized for his creative and internationally influential force for science-based and harmonized approaches to crop protection chemistry. Dr. Solomon’s contributions are rooted in his role as a leading investigator and scholar concerning chemical behavior and significance in the environment. His well-known research, much of which has been focused on risk assessment of important crop protection chemicals, has been leveraged to advance harmonized approaches to chemical assessment through expert collaborations as well as educational and global outreach efforts. Dr. Solomon’s longstanding contributions to the science of crop protection chemistry have helped firmly establish harmonized approaches for the science of risk assessment as a critical underpinning for management of crop protection chemistry.

Prof. Solomon has made substantial and original contributions through his research on chemical behavior and significance of exposures for environmental quality and human health. These efforts originated from the active research laboratory he developed and led at the University of Guelph, Canada, for more than 40 years. As a result, over the years he has authored or co-authored more than 300 publications in the peer-reviewed literature. Prof. Solomon’s work has often been directed towards addressing concerns around some of the most important and widely used crop protection chemicals including herbicides such as glyphosate, atrazine, and 2,4-D, and insecticides within the chlorinated hydrocarbon, organophosphorus, pyrethroid, and neonicotinoid classes, as well as related contaminants such as chlorinated dioxins. In investigating these chemicals, Prof. Solomon has developed novel approaches for quantifying their behavior in the environment, and helped standardize approaches involving microcosms, mesocosms, and species effect probability distributions. His research has not stopped at merely the observation and quantification of chemical residues in environmental compartments but has helped elucidate potential biological impacts through the employment of quantitative risk assessment methodologies. The standardized risk assessment approaches Prof. Solomon developed and popularized have provided practical examples for how chemistry can best be employed to elucidate the nature of potential chemical exposure concerns and support informed management of crop protection chemicals. Prof. Solomon’s research has provided a pioneering template for other chemists to follow in bringing their science to the practical benefit of society.

Prof. Solomon has made unique contributions to the practical application of chemistry for support of harmonized risk assessment practices through his expert collaborations with other scientists on a national and international basis. He has not worked as an isolated researcher pursuing a solitary pathway of investigation, but instead has operated in a highly collaborative fashion with experts from academia, government agencies, and industry to advance critical research initiatives, elaborate standardized methodologies, and provide recommendations for risk managers and policy-makers. In these efforts, Prof. Solomon has functioned as a leader and contributing member of governmental and scientific society expert panels and working groups sponsored by IUPAC (e.g., Water Chemistry Commission), United Nations Environmental Program, International Life Sciences Institute, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Agriculture Canada, Canadian National Research Council, and Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). These collaborations have been organized around the world to address pressing environmental issues and develop harmonized approaches for researchers and government agencies.

Prof. Solomon has made lasting contributions to the development of his peers as well as the next generation of chemistry contributors through his educational and global outreach efforts. His science has not stopped with publications and expert collaborations, but he has been highly active in mentoring, teaching, training, and lecturing to broaden awareness of sound approaches to crop protection chemistry and infect others with his wisdom and passion for excellence. Prof. Solomon’s influence has begun within his own laboratory at University of Guelph where he supervised the training of 34 MS and 29 PhD students, co-supervised 10 students, served as a committee member for many additional students, and served as external examiner for 11 students across 7 countries. His teaching efforts have included development of several influential classes through the University of Guelph focused on principles of chemical assessment. These include graduate and undergraduate classes that have spanned both chemical fate and effects considerations, including Ecotoxicological Risk Characterization, Pesticides in the Environment, Biological Activity of Pesticides, and Advanced Principles of Toxicology. He has also been heavily involved as a lecturer for many short courses around the world teaching these principles; in the past five years alone, he has lectured in five such courses offered in Brazil, Costa Rica, and The Philippines. Of particular note are Prof. Solomon’s efforts to expand the audience of his teaching through authorship of influential textbooks and their translation into various languages to enhance global adoption. Perhaps his most noteworthy textbook is Pesticides and the Environment, the first edition of which he co-authored with Profs. Stephenson, Frank, and Hsaing (1). This extensive volume communicates key principles of pesticide chemistry and assessment for environmental and human health impacts, and it has been released in English, Portuguese (2), and Spanish (3) versions . Pesticides and the Environment has recently been revised and an updated second edition (4) was published in December of 2021. The second edition is available as an electronic and hard-copy versions.

Prof Solomon has had a long relationship with IUPAC since 1986 when he co-convened a session in Environmental Toxicology at the IUPAC Congress of Pesticide Chemistry, in Ottawa. Since that time, he has served on the IUPAC Water Chemistry Commission and has participated in short courses and papers on pesticides and risk assessment at IUPAC- organized meetings in Germany (1990), Switzerland (2002) Costa Rica (2005) Brazil (2009) Chile (2015), Kenya and India (2016), Costa Rica (2017), and Brazil (2017).

  1. Stephenson GR, Solomon KR. 2007. Pesticides and the Environment. Guelph, Ontario, Canada: Canadian Network of Toxicology Centres Press. 427 p.
  2. Solomon KR, Stephenson GR, Correa CL Zambrone FAD. 2010. Praguicidas e o Meio Ambiente. Sao Paulo, Brazil, ILIS Press 473 pp
  3. Stephenson GR, Solomon KR, Carazo E. 2013. Plaguicidas y Ambiente. San Juan, Costa Rica, University of Costa Rica Press. 580 pp
  4. Prosser RS and Solomon KR. 2021. Pesticides and the Environment 2nd Ed. 440 pp. ISBN Numbers: Electronic Book; 978-1-7780217-1-8, Hard copy; 978-1-7780217-0-1. [on amazon.ca]

For more information on this award, please see the originating Call for Nominations (posted 18 Aug 2022)

Announcement published in Chem Int April 2023, p.22

June 2024 – On the Award presentation, a paper based on Solomon’s presentation at the 2023 ACS AGRO meeting in San Francisco on August 16, 2023 is published in PAC <https://doi.org/10.1515/pac-2024-0215> (AOP 4 June 2024). The title of this paper “A brief history of risk assessment for agrochemicals“, is modified from the much-admired book by Stephen Hawkins “A Brief History of Time”.

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