Main content area

An indispensable asset at risk: merits and needs of chemicals-related environmental sciences

Schaeffer, Andreas, Hollert, Henner, Ratte, Hans Toni, Roß-Nickoll, Martina, Filser, Juliane, Matthies, Michael, Oehlmann, Joerg, Scheringer, Martin, Schulz, Ralf, Seitz, Alfred
Environmental science and pollution research international 2009 v.16 no.4 pp. 410-413
assets, chemical compounds, environmental sustainability, interdisciplinary research, markets, pollutants, research support, risk, risk assessment, sediments, soil, Austria, Germany, Switzerland
Background Modern societies depend on environmental sustainability and on new generations of individuals well-trained by environmental research and teaching institutions. In the past, significant contributions to the identification, assessment, and management of chemical stressors with legal consequences have been made. Main Features Within this article, we intend to elucidate the merits and the emerging challenges of chemicals-related environmental sciences. The manuscript is supported by more than 70 professors and university academics of leading institutions in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and other countries in Europe, but addresses topics of global concern. Results and Discussion Many environmental problems of pollutants remain to be addresses, since new chemical compounds or classes of new compounds are continuously developed and brought to the market and sooner or later “emerge” in the environment. Further issues are the inclusion of transformation products and chemical mixtures in environmental risk assessment, the long-term presence of xenobiotics bound to soils and sediments, as well as an understanding of the ecological relevance of ecotoxicological end points. Conclusion and Perspectives We point out the need for a strong academic research and education system in chemicals-related environmental sciences to ministries, politicians, and research funding institutions and we propose to create specific units in the national funding bodies that address basic and interdisciplinary research in this field.