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Priority and Emerging Contaminants

Identifying and tracking the occurrence and fate of emerging contaminants in the environment.

An increase in human activities has brought rise to a class of emerging pollutants, also called emerging contaminants or contaminants of emerging concern (ECs or CECs). These CECs come from various anthropogenic sources, and can be released into the environment during their production, use and disposal. For example, they can enter the environment as waste from households, hospitals and industries, from landfill leachates, from waste water treatment plants and from runoff (road, stormwater or agricultural).

CECs include, but are not limited to personal care products, industrial chemicals, antibiotics, stimulants, flame retardants, plasticizers, pharmaceuticals, and pesticides. Many of these chemicals are expected to be persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic to humans and wildlife.There are likely hundreds to thousands of CECs in the environment. While some are known and well-studied (priority pollutants), many aren’t. This research program uses a combination of analytical chemistry and/or toxicological techniques to screen, study and prioritize CECs concern in mixtures. Our goal is to provide novel insights into unknown toxicological markers, expand our understanding of anthropogenic-induced impacts, help support mitigation efforts to protect environmental and public health.

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