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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Hazard screening of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) in Sweden's three largest lakes and their associated rivers

Malnes, Daniel; Waara, Sylvia; Figuiere, Romain; Ahrens, Lutz; Wiberg, Karin; Kohler, Stephan J.; Golovko, Oksana


Persistent, mobile, and toxic (PMT) substances have recently garnered increased attention by environmental researchers, the water sector and environmental protection agencies. In this study, acute and chronic species sensitivity distributions (SSDs) were retrieved from literature data for previously quantified contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) in Swedish surface waters (n = 92) and risk quotients (RQ) were calculated. To better understand the characteristics of the detected CECs in non-urban lake sites (n = 71), these compounds were checked against established criteria for potentially toxic PMs (PM(T)s) and occurrence in the aquatic environment, respectively. For the CECs with missing SSDs (n = 15 [acute], n = 41 [chronic]), ecotoxicity data were extracted for eight taxonomic groups, and if data were sufficient (n >= 3), SSDs were derived. The retrieved and newly developed SSDs were then used in an environmental hazard assessment (EHA) in the investigated Swedish rivers and lakes. In the rivers, 8 CECs had RQ> 1 in at least one location, and 20 CECs posed a moderate risk (0.01 < RQ < 1). In total, 21 of the 71 detected substances had already been identified as PM(T)/vPvM substances. Our study shows the importance of studying field data at large spatial scale to reveal potential environmental hazards far from source areas.


Pharmaceuticals; Industrial chemicals; PFAS; Ionizable substances; Species sensitivity distribution (SSD)

Published in

Journal of Hazardous Materials
2023, Volume: 453, article number: 131376
Publisher: ELSEVIER