Overhead shot of a water treatment plant

Our aim is to further the understanding of the sources, risks and impacts of new or emerging chemical contaminants in the environment.


The Emerging Chemical Contaminants (ECC) team develops and implements early warning systems to rapidly identify chemicals having immediate and/or longstanding risks to public health and our environment. We monitor large numbers of different types of chemical residues including pharmaceuticals, personal care products, illicit drugs, pesticides, disinfectant by-products, explosives, industrial chemicals and extractables/leachables, and also perform horizon scoping work to assess and add to this list on an ongoing basis. We monitor across soil, water, air and biota and our work is largely underpinned with expertise in (bio)analytical chemistry and toxicology. We embrace integration and collaboration with communities, authorities and industry to help build capability for monitoring and mitigating the risks of chemicals in the environment. Our research themes include:

  • Analytical Science: We develop new capabilities for identification and measurement of chemicals in most sample types. We have substantial expertise in separation science and mass spectrometry, but also integration of predictive artificial intelligence-based tools to maximise understanding of complex datasets.
  • Chemical Risk Assessment: We assess the risks of new and emerging chemical residues we find in the environment. We specialise in environmental toxicology to understand whether chemicals pose a negative impact on humans, flora and fauna. This includes exposures via drinking water, air and other media.
  • Wastewater-based epidemiology: We monitor population level exposure and consumption of chemicals by analysing wastewater. For example, we can estimate illicit drug consumption, perform near-real time monitoring of population health and chemical exposure from everyday products all at very large scales (multisite, national and international).



Team Members