The screening programme is a key part of the Swedish environmental monitoring programme for toxic pollutants. The purpose of the screening is to gain an understanding of the substances found the environment, their respective concentrations, and the extent of human exposure to these substances. A typical screening study aims at answering one or several of the following questions:
• Is the substance subject to large-scale transport?
• Do diffuse emissions occur?
• Is the substance released from certain point sources?
• Does the substance bioaccumulate in the environment?
• Are human exposed?
This report presents a summary of results of national screening studies that were performed during 2008-2010. All these underlying reports can be downloaded at http://www.naturvardsverket.se/sv/Tillstandet-imiljon/
As the number of samples is limited as to time and location, the results may be regarded as a first investigation of the release and environmental incidence of given pollutants
All substances are presented more thoroughly in the report. In Conclusions section, an attempt is made to answer the five questions above for each substance, based on the results of the report.
If an icon (e.g. large-scale transport) is crossed out, it means that the substance is not spread to any great extent and “ej undersökt i denna studie” (Swedish for “not examined in this study”) means that an answer to that question is not provided in the report.
In the first part of this report, the chapters are arranged on the basis of substances or groups of substances, but in the second part, the division is based on matrices since several of the referred reports primarily are studies of matrices and contaminants found there. This summary gives a brief overview of the results arranged according to the questions listed above
Samples of air or fish from background areas are commonly analysed as indicators of large-scale transport. Most of the substances or groups of substances in this report (9 out of 14) can be large-scale transporters. Substances in this report that do not spread over a large area include pesticides, biocides, musk substances and pharmaceuticals.
Diffuse releases may occur from sources such as road traffic, households or construction materials. Environmental impact from diffuse releases is often apparent in cases where environmental levels are significantly higher in urban areas than in background areas. Incidence in waste water or sewage sludge also indicates diffuse releases. Most, if not all, of the substances in this report are to some extent spread by diffuse releases.
Emissions from point sources may cause local environmental impact and, in the case of persistent pollutants, may also contribute to large-scale transport. In the screening programme, environmental samples are collected close to potential point sources, and their impact is assessed through comparison with environmental levels in background areas. Obvious point sources were identified for seven of the substances in this report, while apparent point sources do not seem to exist for four of them.
Certain substances may bioaccumulate in shellfish or fish, for example. This is of importance for the long term internal exposure, but may also contribute to exposure at higher levels in the food chain. Fish muscle tissue is a common matrix in the environmental monitoring programme. The substances in this report identified as bioaccumulative includes brominated flame retardants, unintentionally produced substances, phenolic compounds, perfluorinated compounds and musk substances.
As a measure of human exposure, environmental pollutants may be analysed in breast milk, urine or blood. These reports identify human exposure to unintentionally produced substances (PBDF), MTBE/ETBE and chlorinated paraffins. Additionally, the incidence of many substances in fish shows that certain foodstuffs contribute to human exposure to toxic pollutants.
The objective for some of these studies was to use an open-ended approach to screen the matrices in order to identify as many contaminants as possible, including substances that normally are not represented in environmental surveys. Despite some success, the results show that further improvements in methodology are needed. Another report shows that urine seems to be a suitable matrix for measurements of metabolites as part of health-related screening. Furthermore, studies on matrices representing the terrestrial environment over time (vole, reindeer, moose and starling) are included in this report.
2011. , 181 p.