Research Areas > Contaminants > Contaminants of Emerging Concern
Research Area: Contaminants of Emerging Concern
Current monitoring programs focus on a small list of contaminants that were identified as priority pollutants decades ago. However, there are thousands of additional chemicals in common use by industry, agriculture, and households, which are eventually discharged into coastal waters. Some of these chemicals persist in the environment, accumulate in tissues, and are toxic to aquatic life. Others interfere with hormone systems governing reproduction and growth. Because their production is likely to continue and/or increase in the future, while their behavior, fate and effects are largely unknown, scientists are concerned about the impact of emerging contaminants in the coastal and marine environment.
Tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA; left), an emerging contaminant of concern currently used in electronics and plastics production shares a common chemical structure with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs; right), a legacy contaminant whose production and usage was banned in the late 1970s.
This page was last updated on: