Chemicals of Concern

Improving our understanding of the nature and behaviour of chemicals of concern will assist us in protecting aquatic ecosystems from emerging risks.

Polluted stormwater in Edgars Creek
Polluted stormwater in Edgars Creek.

Chemicals of Concern

This program aims to protect aquatic ecosystems from emerging risks by improving our understanding of chemicals of concern. Chemicals of concern are persistent synthetic compounds with the potential to cause significant toxicity to aquatic life. They include pesticides, industrial chemicals, fire retardants and personal care products.

Chemicals of concern are widespread in the aquatic environment, but little is known about their sources or ecological significance. We use novel passive sampling technologies to investigate sources of these chemicals to the aquatic environment, and apply a wide range of toxicity assays to measure ecological impacts across multiple levels of biological organisation from cells to populations.

The program has developed and evaluated new technologies for catchment managers and enforcement authorities, and works closely with EPA Victoria to locate pollution sources. This research advances our capacity to detect and respond to emerging pollution threats, helping to reduce water pollution and improve the health of aquatic ecosystems.

For more information, please contact Steve Marshall steve.m@unimelb.edu.au.