EEA urges action on chemicals in Europe’s waters

22 January 2019

Article: 53/0308

A report recently released by the European Environment Agency (EEA) recommends more attention to the danger posed by the ‘cocktail effect’, whereby mixtures of chemical substances that individually may be present at harmless concentrations can combine and pose a risk to health,  in European lakes, rivers and other surface water bodies.

The report concludes that Europe-wide action to prevent and reduce hazardous chemicals from making their way into Europe’s fresh water bodies has been successful over past decades. However, challenges remain in effectively dealing with mercury and brominated flame retardants, and with many harmful chemicals which have not been prioritised for monitoring under the EU Water Framework Directive.

The aim of the report is to improve understanding of which chemicals continue to pose significant risks to the environment, especially when they are present in water. It also looks at how better knowledge and understanding can help to improve controls in order to minimise harm.

The report gives an overview of information about pollutants used in the assessment of water quality under the Water Framework Directive and describes some of the newer techniques available for assessing of water quality.

The report ‘Chemicals in European Waters’ can be viewed on the EEA website, while the EU Water Framework Directive can be viewed on the European Commission (EC) website.

Source: EEA, 16 January 2019