Chemical monitoring of Swedish coastal waters indicates common exceedances of environmental thresholds, both for individual substances as well as their mixtures

Mar Pollut Bull. 2017 Sep 15;122(1-2):409-419. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.06.082. Epub 2017 Jul 8.


Chemical pollution was monitored and assessed along the Swedish west coast. 62 of 172 analyzed organic chemicals were detected in the water phase of at least one of five monitored sites. A Concentration Addition based screening-level risk assessment indicates that all sites are put at risk from chemical contamination, with total risk quotients between 2 and 9. Only at one site did none of the individual chemicals exceeded its corresponding environmental threshold (PNEC, EQS). The monitoring data thus demonstrate a widespread blanket of diffuse pollution, with no clear trends among sites. Further issues critical for the environmental chemical risk assessment include the challenges to achieve sufficiently low levels of detection, especially for hormones and cypermethrin (a pyrethroid insecticide), the appropriate consideration of non-detects and the limited availability of reliable PNECs and EQS values.

Keywords: Chemical mixture; Multi-residue screening; Non-target screening; Quality standards; Risk assessment; Triclosan.

MeSH terms

  • Environment
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Organic Chemicals
  • Sweden
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*


  • Organic Chemicals
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical