Aquatic ecosystems are under permanent pressure by man-made pollution that enters into coastal and marine environments via river discharge, atmospheric transport and deposition as well as diffuse input pathways. The coastal abiotic marine environment can be regarded as the starting point for the accumulation and magnification of toxic chemicals in the marine food chain. This is especially the case for the long-living hydrophobic persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
Due to the importance of coastal environments as human food reservoirs, POPs consequently threaten the human- and ecosystem health, including socioeconomical consequences. Besides accumulation in the food web, POPs can be transported from coastal environments towards the open oceans resulting in a long-term pollution and long-term effects on the global marine environment and its health.
The Department for Environmental Chemistry focuses on the investigation of the occurrence, sources, transport, fate and trends of persistent anthropogenic pollutants in the coastal and marine environment. Emphasis is on emerging contaminants such as Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) and alternative Flame Retardants (aFRs).