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Chemical monitoring of Swedish coastal waters indicates common exceedances of environmental thresholds, both for individual substances as well as their mixtures

Journal article
Authors Mikael Gustavsson
J. Magner
Bethanie Carney Almroth
M. K. Eriksson
Joachim Sturve
Thomas Backhaus
Published in Marine Pollution Bulletin
Volume 122
Issue 1-2
Pages 409-419
ISSN 0025-326X
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Pages 409-419
Language en
Keywords Chemical mixture, Risk assessment, Non-target screening, Multi-residue screening, Tridosan, Quality standards, joint algal toxicity, risk-assessment, surface waters, pesticide, mixtures, marine periphyton, mass-spectrometry, triclosan, pharmaceuticals, contamination, pollutants, Environmental Sciences & Ecology, Marine & Freshwater Biology, HA, 2014, Transitional Guidance on Mixture Toxicity Assessment for Biocidal Products for the Environment, HA, 2014, Search for Chemicals, HA, 2015, Opinion on the Application for Approval of the Active Substance: Triclosan ECHA/BPC/066/2015, HA, 2016, Biocidal Active Substances, HA, 2015, Opinion on the Application for Approval of the Active Substance: Irgarol ECHA/BPC/065/2015
Subject categories Biological Sciences, Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


Chemical pollution was monitored and assessed along the Swedish west coast. 62 of 172 analyzed organic chemicals were detected in the water phase of at least one of five monitored sites. A Concentration Addition based screening-level risk assessment indicates that all sites are put at risk from chemical contamination, with total risk quotients between 2 and 9. Only at one site did none of the individual chemicals exceeded its corresponding environmental threshold (PNEC, EQS). The monitoring data thus demonstrate a widespread blanket of diffuse pollution, with no clear trends among sites. Further issues critical for the environmental chemical risk assessment include the challenges to achieve sufficiently low levels of detection, especially for hormones and cypermethrin (a pyrethroid insecticide), the appropriate consideration of non-detects and the limited availability of reliable PNECs and EQS values.

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