Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 8, 2016
Previous Article Next Article

The dilemma in prioritizing chemicals for environmental analysis: known versus unknown hazards

Author affiliations

Abstract

A major challenge for society is to manage the risks posed by the many chemicals continuously emitted to the environment. All chemicals in production and use cannot be monitored and science-based strategies for prioritization are essential. In this study we review available data to investigate which substances are included in environmental monitoring programs and published research studies reporting analyses of chemicals in Baltic Sea fish between 2000 and 2012. Our aim is to contribute to the discussion of priority settings in environmental chemical monitoring and research, which is closely linked to chemical management. In total, 105 different substances or substance groups were analyzed in Baltic Sea fish. Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were the most studied substances or substance groups. The majority, 87%, of all analyses comprised 20% of the substances or substance groups, whereas 46 substance groups (44%) were analyzed only once. Almost three quarters of all analyses regarded a POP-substance (persistent organic pollutant). These results demonstrate that the majority of analyses on environmental contaminants in Baltic Sea fish concern a small number of already regulated chemicals. Legacy pollutants such as POPs pose a high risk to the Baltic Sea due to their hazardous properties. Yet, there may be a risk that prioritizations for chemical analyses are biased based on the knowns of the past. Such biases may lead to society failing in identifying risks posed by yet unknown hazardous chemicals. Alternative and complementary ways to identify priority chemicals are needed. More transparent communication between risk assessments performed as part of the risk assessment process within REACH and monitoring programs, and information on chemicals contained in consumer articles, would offer ways to identify chemicals for environmental analysis.

Graphical abstract: The dilemma in prioritizing chemicals for environmental analysis: known versus unknown hazards

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 15 Mar 2016, accepted on 05 May 2016 and first published on 05 May 2016


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C6EM00163G
Citation: Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2016,18, 1042-1049
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
  •   Request permissions

    The dilemma in prioritizing chemicals for environmental analysis: known versus unknown hazards

    S. Anna, B. Sofia, R. Christina and B. Magnus, Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2016, 18, 1042
    DOI: 10.1039/C6EM00163G

    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material and it is not used for commercial purposes.

    Reproduced material should be attributed as follows:

    • For reproduction of material from NJC:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from PCCP:
      [Original citation] - Published by the PCCP Owner Societies.
    • For reproduction of material from PPS:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from all other RSC journals:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

    Information about reproducing material from RSC articles with different licences is available on our Permission Requests page.

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements