Risk assessment of chemicals has traditionally followed a substance-by-substance approach, largely based on empirical testing of fate properties and (eco)toxicity. However, testing and assessment of each substance separately requires an enormous amount of resources and ignores potentially adverse impacts of co-exposures to other substances. The increasing number of chemicals entering the market and environment each day requires new and more efficient scientific approaches for assessing and managing chemical risks. SUSPECt tackles this challenge by integrating state-of-the-art scientific knowledge on emission estimation, fate modelling, and effect assessment of chemicals for which limited data are available into a set of decision support tools for contaminants of emerging concern (CEC). SUSPECt will develop and optimize novel methods for emission estimation of CEC based on a limited set of human activity data such as sales and demographic data. SUSPECt will develop and further refine models for the environmental fate of CEC, particularly in sewer systems, STPs, during manure storage, and after manure application, with a focus on hydrophilic and ionizing compounds. SUSPECt will develop new and more efficient methods to assess exposure and effects of CEC, particularly for mixtures. The need for data on fate and effect properties will be minimized through a clever combination of existing data(bases), advanced statistical methods and implementation of novel QSAR/QSPR approaches. The methods and models developed in SUSPECt will be demonstrated in a number of location-specific case studies and validated with an extensive passive sampling campaign covering the entire source to effect chain.
We provide a disciplinary and multidisciplinary research programme aimed at advanced understanding of environmental problems and advanced training of PhD candidates in this field.