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Environ Pollut. 2002;117(2):195-213.

Assessing the environmental fate of chemicals of emerging concern: a case study of the polybrominated diphenyl ethers.

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  • 1Environmental Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, UmeĆ„ University, Sweden.


It is suggested that assessments of chemicals of emerging concern can be rationally structured around a multistage process in which fate and risk are evaluated with increasing accuracy as new data become available. An initial tentative and approximate assessment of fate and risk can identify key data gaps and justify and direct further investigations, which progressively improve the reliability of the assessment. This approach is demonstrated for a class of chemicals, the polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which is of increasing concern, but about which there is presently a lack of comprehensive data on properties, sources, fate and effects. Specifically, 20 PBDE congeners are investigated using the suggested approach and research needs are identified.

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