Proceedings of the Norman Workshop on Emerging Environmental Pollutants: Key Issues and Challenges

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Since the 1970s the impact of chemical pollution has focused almost exclusively on lists of conventional priority pollutants, especially those referred to as PBT (fulfilling criteria of Persistence, Bioaccumulation and Toxicity) or POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants). The number of regulated, conventional pollutants, however, represents only a small part of the total number of potential pollutants. Emerging pollutants pose increasing threats to public health and ecosystems. Emerging pollutants are not necessarily new chemicals, and some of them have often long been present in the environment, but their presence and significance are only now being elucidated.

How are emerging pollutants identified? How do emerging pollutants become regulated pollutants? What investigations should be undertaken when an emerging pollutant is identified? What are the substances that are being identified as emerging pollutants today, and what information is currently missing or required in terms of monitoring and assessment of their associated risks?

Information on these substances is often difficult to obtain and the methods used are often at a research and development stage, or not appropriate for harmonisation at the European level. This makes comparison and interpretation of data very difficult, and represents a major difficulty for decision-making by the authorities.

To discuss these issues from a wide perspective a workshop on ‘Emerging environmental pollutants: key issues and challenges’ was held in Stresa, Italy on 19-20 June 2006 as part of the activities of the EU-funded NORMAN project (Network of reference laboratories, research centres and related organisations for monitoring of emerging environmental pollutants)1. The workshop was organised with the collaboration of:

  • INERIS - Institut National de l’Environnement Industriel et des Risques (France)
  • JRC-IES – Joint Research Centre – Institute for Environment and Sustainability (EC)
  • EA – Environment Agency for England and Wales (UK).

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