Emerging persistent organic pollutants (ePOPs) in aquatic ecosystems: from environmental assessment to regulation awareness
Convener: Julian Campo | Co-conveners: Damià Barceló, Y. Picó
| Attendance Mon, 08 Apr, 14:00–15:45
Hall A

According to the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs), these compounds are resistant to chemical, biological, and photolytic environmental degradation. POPs are stable and persistent, long-distance transportable, bioaccumulative, biomagnifiable in the food chain, and could pose significant impact on human health and the environment. Currently, there is a rising concern about the presence of new organic synthetic compounds in the environment, the so-called new or emerging contaminants, which include the emerging POPs (ePOPs) that are either, very recently or not yet regulated.
Research about the source, occurrence, distribution, fate and toxicity of ePOPs is pivotal for understanding their impact and environmental behavior. The final destiny of most of ePOPs is water or aquatic ecosystems, which can be reached in different ways: improper disposal, release through domestic wastewater systems, through agriculture and industry or after passing through wastewater treatment plants that do not effectively eliminate them. Once ePOPs are released into waterbodies, they may also come into contact with solid particulate matter (suspended or deposited in sediment, which is considered as a sink of many POPs) or they can be bioaccumulated in aquatic organisms, and finally in humans.
In 2009, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride/perfluorooctane sulfonate (POSF/PFOS) were added to the list of Stockholm Convention and hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs) listed as candidate. The ePOPs include these substances as well as several others widely used in industrial processes and consumer products, such as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), non-PBDEs or novel brominated flame retardants (NBFRs), organophosphate flame retardants (PFRs), dechlorane plus and related compounds, short-chain chlorinated paraffin and GenX that have been proposed as a replacement alternative for banned formulations.
It is a vital scientific challenge to disentangle the impact of human development and its relationship with the presence of ePOPs in aquatic ecosystems, as well as their possible effects on populations that source their waters or organisms that inhabit them. This session aims at giving an overview of the current research and state of knowledge on contamination of these ecosystems with ePOPs and identifying the factors affecting their distribution and fate, as well as examples of sustainable mitigation/remediation practices, and research needs, that help to regulate and control ePOPs contamination of aquatic ecosystems. Contributions from all areas of biogeosciences: biology, ecology, chemistry (analytical, bio, environmental, …), toxicology, etc. are invited to contribute to this multidisciplinary session.