Suspect screening in Nordic countries

Point sources in city areas

image of Suspect screening in Nordic countries

This report describes the results of a suspect screening study in samples from city areas in the Nordic countries. In contrast to target analysis, suspect screening starts with a general sample preparation and identification including as much compounds as possible. The resulting list of recorded compounds will be identified by comparison with a list of suspected compounds. Suspect screening has shown to be very useful for identification of emerging environmental pollutants. It was possible to identify: Perfluorinated compounds (PFC), chlorinated and brominated compounds, flame retardants, bisphenols, polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAC), industrial additives, and pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCP). This study was jointly performed by NILU, NIVA, and Umeå University on behalf of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The study was supervised by the Nordic screening group.




Today, the monitoring of the environmental level of organic potentially hazardous compounds is mainly based on the use of mass spectrometers. The applied techniques can be classified either as target or non-target methods, that means either selecting the compounds of interest before starting the analysis or at a later stage. Traditional environmental monitoring of organic pollutants as PCB or chlorinated pesticides is targeting specific compounds, and is therefore named target analysis. In contrast, non-target analysis or non-target screening is defined as an analytical technique that can identify environmental pollutants without selection of the compounds of interest before starting the chemical analysis. This understanding of non-target screening is also at the base of the invitation to tender of this project.


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