An expanded conceptual framework for solution‑focused management of chemical pollution in European Waters

The conceptual framework consists of four access points: Chemicals, Environment, Abatement and Society, representing different aspects and approaches to engaging in the issue of chemical contamination of surface waters. It widens the scope for assessment and management of chemicals in comparison to a traditional (mostly) perchemical risk assessment approaches by including abatement- and societal approaches as optional solutions. The solution-focused approach implies an identification of abatement- and policy options upfront in the risk assessment process.

The conceptual framework was designed for use in current and future chemical pollution assessments for the aquatic environment, including the specific challenges encountered in prioritising individual chemicals and mixtures, and is applicable for the development of approaches for safe chemical management in a broader sense. The four access points of the conceptual framework are interlinked by four key topics representing the main scientific challenges that need to be addressed, i.e.: identifying and prioritising hazardous chemicals at different scales; selecting relevant and efficient abatement options; providing regulatory support for chemicals management; predicting and prioritising future chemical risks. The conceptual framework aligns current challenges in the safe production and use of chemicals. The current state of knowledge and implementation of these challenges is described.

The use of the conceptual framework, and addressing the challenges, is intended to support: (1) forwarding sustainable use of chemicals, (2) identification of pollutants of priority concern for cost-effective management, (3) the selection of optimal abatement options and (4) the development and use of optimised legal and policy instruments.

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Last updated: 2021-06-24

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute

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