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No. 446: Prioritization of emerging contaminants for a Nordic screening study

Sanderson, H., Fauser, P. & Vorkamp, K. 2021. Prioritization of emerging contaminants for a Nordic screening study. Aarhus University, DCE – Danish Centre for Environment and Energy, 32 pp. Scientific Report No. 446. http://dce2.au.dk/pub/SR446.pdf


This report was commissioned by the Nordic Council of Minister (NMR) and has been submitted to the Joint Screening Group under NMR. The report shall support the Joint Nordic Screening group in evaluating and prioritizing chemicals in national aquatic environmental monitoring programmes. The aims of the report are 1) to identify knowledge gaps and monitoring needs for new emerging substances, expected to be present in the (aquatic) environment, based on lists of possibly hazardous chemical substances. 2) Suggest a pan-Nordic screening study for prioritized substances.

This report builds on a report by Woldegiorgis et al. (2019). We applied the same methods with slight revisions to accommodate a pan-Nordic assessment (use, exposure, monitoring). We updated the analysis to include data from 2018-2020. The prioritization process comprises 5 filtering steps. We started with 1872 compounds for filtering. 194 passed the first filter and 23 passed the 4th filter, and finally 16 passed the last filter on monitoring. The resulting screening lists need to be analysed with expert-judgement and supplemented with problematic compounds that did not pass the 3-5 filters.

Comparing the list of 16 proposed chemical candidates to the 13 proposed chemical candidates for screening in Table 18 in Woldegiorgis et al. (2019), we find that 10 of these are also prioritized in the present study. Two chemicals, i.e. CAS 2425-85-6 Pigment Red 3 and CAS 2814-77-9 Pigment Red 4 are the only prioritized chemicals not assessed before, as they are new additions in the CoRAP list.

The analysis provides an objective, semi-quantitative risk based prioritization screening of compounds for consideration in a monitoring context in the Nordic region. The method can be adjusted and further developed, e.g. scores and cut-offs can be adjusted and other properties can be added e.g. mobility. The database analysis could moreover be further developed by including databases outside the EU system e.g. via the OECD e-chem portal and the US EPA ToxCast and chem-dashboard. In the not too distant future the analysis could be expanded in a machine-learning/artificial intelligence (AI) environment.

The Joint Nordic Screening group has had a presentation of the draft findings in Dec 2020 and has also received a draft of the report in late Dec 2020.