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

Associated articles

Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
15 Mar 2016
Accepted
05 May 2016
First published
05 May 2016

This article is Open Access

Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2016,18, 1042-1049
Article type
Paper

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. You can use material from this article in other publications, without requesting further permission from the RSC, provided that the correct acknowledgement is given and it is not used for commercial purposes.

To request permission to reproduce material from this article in a commercial publication, please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page.

If you are an author contributing to an RSC publication, you do not need to request permission provided correct acknowledgement is given.

If you are the author of this article, you do not need to request permission to reproduce figures and diagrams provided correct acknowledgement is given. If you want to reproduce the whole article in a third-party commercial publication (excluding your thesis/dissertation for which permission is not required) please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page.

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content.


Social activity

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements