The issue

Chemicals are integral to human life and generate billions of pounds for national economies. However, chemical discharges can degrade the environment, impacting ecosystems adversely, thereby affecting the health of humans and wildlife.

UKCEH science advances our understanding of environmental exposure and effects of chemicals across water, land and air, producing the evidence that governments and statutory agencies need for ensuring safe and sustainable use.

Our role

We investigate the dispersal, fate and behaviour of chemicals and polluting substances in terrestrial and freshwater environments. Priority pollutants of interest include radionuclides, pesticides, organic pollutants, toxic metals, nutrients and manufactured nanomaterials and plastics.

We also seek to determine the effects of these pollutants across multiple scales, ranging from genes to populations, including the degradation of ecosystem function and development of antimicrobial resistance.

Our commitment

  • To advance the measurement and assessment of chemical hazard pathways across water, land and air.
  • To develop novel emissions-fate-transfer models that deliver explicit descriptions and predictions of environmental chemical exposure in space and time.
  • To make a major contribution to sustainable chemical use through an enhanced understanding of environmental exposure and effects.