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Licentiate thesis, 2023

Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Swedish Freshwater Environments: Sources, Occurrence, and Impacts

Malnes, Daniel


Contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) is one of several reasons for the deterioration of surface water quality globally, even though the CECs occur in trace concentrations. This thesis produced new CEC data through a oneyear field study for substances which occur in Sweden’s three largest lakes and their associated rivers. The purpose was to investigate mass flows and seasonal variations of CECs, as well as estimate the potential ecotoxicological hazard posed by the CECs’ occurrence. It was found that numerous CECs occurred in all examined rivers, and that a continuous influx of CECs with suspected hazardous properties into the lakes occurred. Total mass loads of the investigated CECs were estimated from 0.51 to 5.6 kg/day in the influx to the lakes, and from 0.12 to 4.3 kg/day in the outflux from the lakes. Seasonal variations were observed in the aquatic environment for both individual and groups of CECs. This could be due to variations in consumption and environmental conditions. Some of the seasonal variations were being reported for the first time in the academic literature. Many of the CECs were suspected to have the combination of the hazardous properties of persistency, mobility, and toxicity (PMT). Of the 71 CECs detected far from any suspected input into the lakes, 20 had previously been suspected of having PMT properties. Within the remaining 51 CECs, multiple others also had suspected PMT properties. The thesis suggests that CECs with suspected PMT properties should be analysed closer with respect to these properties.


environmental contaminants; persistent mobile and toxic (PMT) substances; pharmaceuticals; per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances; seasonal variations

Published in

ISBN: 978-91-8046-871-8, eISBN: 978-91-8046-872-5
Publisher: Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG6 Clean water and sanitation
    SDG14 Life below water
    SDG12 Responsible consumption and production

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Organic Chemistry
    Environmental Sciences
    Environmental Management

    Publication identifier


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