Emerging Chemical Contaminants
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).
- iSTEMM Module co-leads for PUBH6001: “Creating evidence-based solutions to environmental pollution and health”
- MSci Chemistry module “CHEM70012 Sustainable Chemistry”
- MSc Security Resilience Science Technology module “Sensors: The Physical Space Threat”
- NERC NE/X010805/1 Tracking pollutants as continua throughout the Thames drainage basin
- NERC NE/X00547X/1 Understanding the eco-evolutionary drivers of emerging antifungal resistance
- NERC NE/W002116/1 West London Healthy Home and Environment Study (WellHome)
- NIHR funded project, “‘iTAPS – Investigating the Toxicological Assessment of PFAS: Evaluating human health impacts from "forever chemicals"’ under the Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Environmental Exposures and Health
- Medical Research Council Centre, HPRU Public and Community Involvement, Engagement & Participation (PCIEP) Seed Fund, and the Imperial College London Participatory Seed Fund) project, “The Imperial Monitoring using Passive Samplers to Assess River Tributaries (IMPART)”
- NIHR funded project, “Detection of highly toxic agents in drinking water” under the HPRU in Chemical and Radiation Threats and Hazards.
- NIHR funded project, “Drugs of misuse”, under the HPRU in Environmental Exposures and Health
- BBSRC BB/P005187/1 iNVERTOX: Rapid intelligent in silico prediction of sub-lethal ecotoxicological effects in invertebrates following pharmaceutical exposure
- BBSRC BB/T508202/1 A machine learning approach to understand how invertebrates maintain homeostasis upon exposure to pharmaceuticals
- BB/W50998X/1 In silico prediction of pharmaceutical biotransformation in receiving waters
- Measuring population-level health and activity following a global pandemic using wastewater-based epidemiology.
- Environmental Protection Agency (Ireland), Water 2017 Call Topic, “IMPACT: Innovative monitoring to prioritise contaminants of emerging concern for Ireland”
- BB/M009513/1, title: Using surrogate passive sampler devices and predictive machine learning algorithms to replace invertebrate use in micropollutant bioconcentration testing
- EPSRC (Ref.: 1812614) “Solving the impact of sample matrix on trace explosive detection using 3D printed micro-solid phase extraction arrays and high-resolution analysis”
- “Semi-targeted detection of endogenous and exogenous fingermark components using ultrahigh pressure liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry”
- SBRI/IRC2013 Project Grant Phases 1 & 2, “Novel passive samplers for semi-targeted explosive vapour screening”
- BBSRC iCASE PhD studentship with Astra Zeneca (BB/K501177/1), “Modelling the uptake of pharmaceuticals in invertebrates using artificial neural networks and chemical measurement”
- EPSRC iCASE PhD studentship with Thermo Fisher Scientific (EP/J502029/1), “Assessing the impact of combined sewer overflow sources on the occurrence of pharmaceutically related contaminants in the Thames River"
- UK IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (ICRF1920\3\22), “Identification of illegal threat manufacturing activity via wastewater markers (ThreatMARK)”
Dr Keng Tiong Ng
Dr Keng Tiong Ng
Helena Rapp Wright
Helena Rapp Wright