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See detailThe NORMAN Association and the European Partnership for Chemicals Risk Assessment (PARC): let’s cooperate!
Dulio, Valeria; Koschorreck, Jan; van Bavel, Bert et al

in Environmental Sciences Europe (2020), 32(1), 1--11

The Partnership for Chemicals Risk Assessment (PARC) is currently under development as a joint research and innovation programme to strengthen the scientific basis for chemical risk assessment in the EU ... [more ▼]

The Partnership for Chemicals Risk Assessment (PARC) is currently under development as a joint research and innovation programme to strengthen the scientific basis for chemical risk assessment in the EU. The plan is to bring chemical risk assessors and managers together with scientists to accelerate method development and the production of necessary data and knowledge, and to facilitate the transition to next-generation evidence-based risk assessment, a non-toxic environment and the European Green Deal. The NORMAN Network is an independent, well-established and competent network of more than 80 organisations in the field of emerging substances and has enormous potential to contribute to the implementation of the PARC partnership. NORMAN stands ready to provide expert advice to PARC, drawing on its long experience in the development, harmonisation and testing of advanced tools in relation to chemicals of emerging concern and in support of a European Early Warning System to unravel the risks of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) and close the gap between research and innovation and regulatory processes. In this commentary we highlight the tools developed by NORMAN that we consider most relevant to supporting the PARC initiative: (i) joint data space and cutting-edge research tools for risk assessment of contaminants of emerging concern; (ii) collaborative European framework to improve data quality and comparability; (iii) advanced data analysis tools for a European early warning system and (iv) support to national and European chemical risk assessment thanks to harnessing, combining and sharing evidence and expertise on CECs. By combining the extensive knowledge and experience of the NORMAN network with the financial and policy-related strengths of the PARC initiative, a large step towards the goal of a non-toxic environment can be taken. [less ▲]

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See detailEstablish data infrastructure to compile and exchange environmental screening data on a European scale
Slobodnik, Jaroslav; Hollender, Juliane; Schulze, Tobias et al

in Environmental Sciences Europe (2019), 31(1), 65

Robust techniques based on liquid (LC) and gas chromatography (GC) coupled with high-resolution mass spectrometry (HR-MS) enable sensitive screening, identification, and (semi)quantification of thousands ... [more ▼]

Robust techniques based on liquid (LC) and gas chromatography (GC) coupled with high-resolution mass spectrometry (HR-MS) enable sensitive screening, identification, and (semi)quantification of thousands of substances in a single sample. Recent progress in computational sciences has enabled archiving and processing of HR-MS ‘big data’ at the routine level. As a result, community-based databases containing thousands of environmental pollutants are rapidly growing and large databases of substances with unique identifiers allowing for inter-comparison at the global scale have become available. A data-archiving infrastructure is proposed, allowing for retrospective screening of HR-MS data, which will help define the ‘chemical universe’ of organic substances and enable prioritisation of toxicants causing adverse environmental effects at the local, river basin, and national and European scale in support of the European water and chemicals management policy. [less ▲]

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See detailHigh-resolution mass spectrometry to complement monitoring and track emerging chemicals and pollution trends in European water resources
Brack, Werner; Hollender, Juliane; de Alda, Miren López et al

in Environmental Sciences Europe (2019), 31(1), 62

Currently, chemical monitoring based on priority substances fails to consider the majority of known environmental micropollutants not to mention the unexpected and unknown chemicals that may contribute to ... [more ▼]

Currently, chemical monitoring based on priority substances fails to consider the majority of known environmental micropollutants not to mention the unexpected and unknown chemicals that may contribute to the toxic risk of complex mixtures present in the environment. Complementing component- and effect-based monitoring with wide-scope target, suspect, and non-target screening (NTS) based on high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) data is recommended to support environmental impact and risk assessment. This will allow for detection of newly emerging compounds and transformation products, retrospective monitoring efforts, and the identification of possible drivers of toxicity by correlation with effects or modelling of expected effects for future and abatement scenarios. HRMS is becoming increasingly available in many laboratories. Thus, the time is right to establish and harmonize screening methods, train staff, and record HRMS data for samples from regular monitoring events and surveys. This will strongly enhance the value of chemical monitoring data for evaluating complex chemical pollution problems, at limited additional costs. Collaboration and data exchange on a European-to-global scale is essential to maximize the benefit of chemical screening. Freely accessible data platforms, inter-laboratory trials, and the involvement of international partners and networks are recommended. [less ▲]

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See detailStrengthen the European collaborative environmental research to meet European policy goals for achieving a sustainable, non-toxic environment
Brack, Werner; Ait-Aissa, Selim; Backhaus, Thomas et al

in Environmental Sciences Europe (2019), 31(1), 1--9

To meet the United Nations (UN) sustainable development goals and the European Union (EU) strategy for a non-toxic environment, water resources and ecosystems management require cost-efficient solutions ... [more ▼]

To meet the United Nations (UN) sustainable development goals and the European Union (EU) strategy for a non-toxic environment, water resources and ecosystems management require cost-efficient solutions for prevailing complex contamination and multiple stressor exposures. For the protection of water resources under global change conditions, specific research needs for prediction, monitoring, assessment and abatement of multiple stressors emerge with respect to maintaining human needs, biodiversity, and ecosystem services. Collaborative European research seems an ideal instrument to mobilize the required transdisciplinary scientific support and tackle the large-scale dimension and develop options required for implementation of European policies. Calls for research on minimizing society’s chemical footprints in the water–food–energy–security nexus are required. European research should be complemented with targeted national scientific funding to address specific transformation pathways and support the evaluation, demonstration and implementation of novel approaches on regional scales. The foreseeable pressure developments due to demographic, economic and climate changes require solution-oriented thinking, focusing on the assessment of sustainable abatement options and transformation pathways rather than on status evaluation. Stakeholder involvement is a key success factor in collaborative projects as it allows capturing added value, to address other levels of complexity, and find smarter solutions by synthesizing scientific evidence, integrating governance issues, and addressing transition pathways. This increases the chances of closing the value chain by implementing novel solutions. For the water quality topic, the interacting European collaborative projects SOLUTIONS, MARS and GLOBAQUA and the NORMAN network provide best practice examples for successful applied collaborative research including multi-stakeholder involvement. They provided innovative conceptual, modelling and instrumental options for future monitoring and management of chemical mixtures and multiple stressors in European water resources. Advancement of EU water framework directive-related policies has therefore become an option. [less ▲]

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See detailLet us empower the WFD to prevent risks of chemical pollution in European rivers and lakes
Brack, Werner; Ait-Aissa, Selim; Altenburger, Rolf et al

in Environmental Sciences Europe (2019), 31(1), 1-3

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See detailFuture water quality monitoring: improving the balance between exposure and toxicity assessments of real-world pollutant mixtures
Altenburger, Rolf; Brack, Werner; Burgess, Robert M. et al

in Environmental Sciences Europe (2019), 31(1), 12

Environmental water quality monitoring aims to provide the data required for safeguarding the environment against adverse biological effects from multiple chemical contamination arising from anthropogenic ... [more ▼]

Environmental water quality monitoring aims to provide the data required for safeguarding the environment against adverse biological effects from multiple chemical contamination arising from anthropogenic diffuse emissions and point sources. Here, we integrate the experience of the international EU-funded project SOLUTIONS to shift the focus of water monitoring from a few legacy chemicals to complex chemical mixtures, and to identify relevant drivers of toxic effects. Monitoring serves a range of purposes, from control of chemical and ecological status compliance to safeguarding specific water uses, such as drinking water abstraction. Various water sampling techniques, chemical target, suspect and non-target analyses as well as an array of in vitro, in vivo and in situ bioanalytical methods were advanced to improve monitoring of water contamination. Major improvements for broader applicability include tailored sampling techniques, screening and identification techniques for a broader and more diverse set of chemicals, higher detection sensitivity, standardized protocols for chemical, toxicological, and ecological assessments combined with systematic evidence evaluation techniques. No single method or combination of methods is able to meet all divergent monitoring purposes. Current monitoring approaches tend to emphasize either targeted exposure or effect detection. Here, we argue that, irrespective of the specific purpose, assessment of monitoring results would benefit substantially from obtaining and linking information on the occurrence of both chemicals and potentially adverse biological effects. In this paper, we specify the information required to: (1) identify relevant contaminants, (2) assess the impact of contamination in aquatic ecosystems, or (3) quantify cause--effect relationships between contaminants and adverse effects. Specific strategies to link chemical and bioanalytical information are outlined for each of these distinct goals. These strategies have been developed and explored using case studies in the Danube and Rhine river basins as well as for rivers of the Iberian Peninsula. Current water quality assessment suffers from biases resulting from differences in approaches and associated uncertainty analyses. While exposure approaches tend to ignore data gaps (i.e., missing contaminants), effect-based approaches penalize data gaps with increased uncertainty factors. This integrated work suggests systematic ways to deal with mixture exposures and combined effects in a more balanced way, and thus provides guidance for future tailored environmental monitoring. [less ▲]

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See detailPerformance of combined fragmentation and retention prediction for the identification of organic micropollutants by LC-HRMS.
Hu, Meng; Muller, Erik; Schymanski, Emma UL et al

in Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry (2018), 410(7), 1931-1941

In nontarget screening, structure elucidation of small molecules from high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) data is challenging, particularly the selection of the most likely candidate structure among ... [more ▼]

In nontarget screening, structure elucidation of small molecules from high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) data is challenging, particularly the selection of the most likely candidate structure among the many retrieved from compound databases. Several fragmentation and retention prediction methods have been developed to improve this candidate selection. In order to evaluate their performance, we compared two in silico fragmenters (MetFrag and CFM-ID) and two retention time prediction models (based on the chromatographic hydrophobicity index (CHI) and on log D). A set of 78 known organic micropollutants was analyzed by liquid chromatography coupled to a LTQ Orbitrap HRMS with electrospray ionization (ESI) in positive and negative mode using two fragmentation techniques with different collision energies. Both fragmenters (MetFrag and CFM-ID) performed well for most compounds, with average ranking the correct candidate structure within the top 25% and 22 to 37% for ESI+ and ESI- mode, respectively. The rank of the correct candidate structure slightly improved when MetFrag and CFM-ID were combined. For unknown compounds detected in both ESI+ and ESI-, generally positive mode mass spectra were better for further structure elucidation. Both retention prediction models performed reasonably well for more hydrophobic compounds but not for early eluting hydrophilic substances. The log D prediction showed a better accuracy than the CHI model. Although the two fragmentation prediction methods are more diagnostic and sensitive for candidate selection, the inclusion of retention prediction by calculating a consensus score with optimized weighting can improve the ranking of correct candidates as compared to the individual methods. Graphical abstract Consensus workflow for combining fragmentation and retention prediction in LC-HRMS-based micropollutant identification. [less ▲]

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