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Environ Sci Technol. 2013 Nov 19;47(22):12619-22. doi: 10.1021/es402501c. Epub 2013 Sep 16.

Confronting unknown planetary boundary threats from chemical pollution.

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Stockholm Environment Institute , Kräftriket 2B, Stockholm 10691, Sweden.


Rockström et al. proposed a set of planetary boundaries that delimitate a "safe operating space for humanity". One of the planetary boundaries is determined by "chemical pollution", however no clear definition was provided. Here, we propose that there is no single chemical pollution planetary boundary, but rather that many planetary boundary issues governed by chemical pollution exist. We identify three conditions that must be simultaneously met for chemical pollution to pose a planetary boundary threat. We then discuss approaches to identify chemicals that could fulfill those conditions, and outline a proactive hazard identification strategy that considers long-range transport and the reversibility of chemical pollution.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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