Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


OUTREACH — Result In Brief

Project ID: 228149
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: United Kingdom

Toxin screening improved for better regulations

Researchers have pioneered high-tech methods to identify and study environmental pollutants.
Toxin screening improved for better regulations
Organic pollutants and toxins should be identified, measured and studied in order to inform regulations that protect human health and the environment.

The EU-funded OUTREACH (Overlooked unresolved toxic organic pollutants: Resolution, identification, measurement and toxicity: OUTREACH) project has optimised high-throughput methods to analyse such toxins. The work has generated ample media coverage, received numerous awards and even elicited a change to international maritime law.

The power of the methods was demonstrated when researchers confirmed the identity of petroleum-based pollutants that killed thousands of seabirds in the United Kingdom in 2013. They were also able to measure complex mixtures of pollutants in city air better than ever before.

In addition, the methods allowed researchers to identify natural chemicals found on insects, and to study the toxicity of naphthenic acids. Despite being fairly common in the environment, naphthenic acids had remained unidentified for over a century.

OUTREACH found that naphthenic acids were not, in general, highly toxic by EU standards. In studying mussels from polluted seawater, they found that the chemicals did not accumulate in mussels the way other pollutants do.

With over 30 scientific papers and extensive media coverage, OUTREACH research has had a wide reach and impact. The methods developed will now contribute to impact assessments of organic chemical pollutants on humans and our environments.

Related information


Toxin, organic pollutants, OUTREACH, high-throughput, naphthenic acids, mussels
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