Friday, 14 March 2014

Pollution & Environmental Risk science area at CEH

CEH's new Science Strategy identifies three interdependent, major societal and environmental challenges: Securing the Value of Nature, Building Resilience to Environmental Hazards, and Managing Environmental Change. We're delivering our strategy by Science Areas and underpinning activities, and over the next few weeks we are profiling these on our blog.

This post focuses on our Pollution & Environmental Risk Science Area led by Professor Richard Shore. Through this area, CEH will provide scientific evidence and risk assessment for sustainable management of chemicals while protecting people and the environment.

Chemicals include pharmaceuticals, radionuclides, macronutrients, trace elements and organic and inorganic pollutants. The development, manufacture and use of chemicals contributes billions of pounds to the UK economy per annum, yet they can have hazardous properties that pose risks to human health, food production and the environment.

Solardomes at CEH's Bangor research site: state-of-the-art exposure
facilities to study the impacts of ozone on a range of plant species.

CEH research objectives include short and long-term monitoring to quantify concentrations, pools, fluxes and impacts of key environmental pollutants.

We study pollutant transport, fate, exposure, effects to discover or predict impact on organisms, human health, ecosystems and their services. We aim to reduce uncertainty with which we predict environmental dynamics, bioavailability and impacts of environmental pollutants, improve hazard screening and risk assessment processes for current and emerging technologies and provide training, tools and approaches for the more realistic assessment of environmental exposure concentrations and risks from manufactured nanomaterials.

CEH runs the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme, a long-term, national monitoring scheme that quantifies the concentrations of contaminants in the livers and eggs of selected species of predatory and fish-eating birds in Britain. We monitor the levels of contaminants to determine how and why they vary between species and regions, how they are changing over time, and the effects that they may have on individual birds and on their populations.

The Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme is also a part of the WILDCOMS collaborative network, formed between the various UK surveillance schemes that monitor disease and contaminants in vertebrate wildlife.

CEH also has a well-established international reputation in radioecology research, the study of the behaviour of radioactive elements in the environment and measuring exposure to radiation of humans and other organisms.

Temporary storage site for radioactive waste at Kawauchi, Japan. In October 2013 Dr Brenda Howard
of CEH was part of an International Atomic Energy Agency international expert mission to
review remediation efforts in areas affected by the Fukushima Daiichi accident.

Read more about our Pollution & Environmental Risk Science Area, including a Science Area Summary [PDF], on the CEH website.

Additional information

CEH Science Strategy 2014-2019

Staff page of Professor Richard Shore, Pollution & Environmental Risk Science Area Lead

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