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Source article

Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences

Published By

Dr. Dick van der Wateren


Baltic Sea, Environment, Pollution, LIFE

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Screening of Baltic Sea pollution in Estonia

30.01.2012, Age: 3557 days

A group of Estonian and Finnish environmental scientists carried out analyses of heavy metals, organic and anorganic compounds, which pollute the inland and coastal waters around the eastern Baltic Sea. Some of these toxic substances find their way into food. Their report has been published in the Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences.

News item submitted by COSIS member Ott Roots

The screening of substances hazardous to the aquatic environment was carried out by the LIFE+ Project "Baltic Actions for Reduction of Pollution of the Baltic Sea from Priority Hazardous Substances (BaltActHaz)" in 2009-2011. The inland water bodies and the coastal sea waters as well as sediments, emissions of effluent and the waste water sediments from water treatment plants were sampled. The concentrations of hazardous substances were determined at 33 sampling locations, of which 8 locations were water treatment plants. Lake Peipsi, 11 rivers, 2 coastal sea areas and regions with intensive agriculture were also sampled.

Sampled hazardous substances were selected primarily based on their toxicity, as well as their life-time in environment and ability to accumulate in living organisms (bio-accumulation). The following hazardous substances and their groups of substances were identified: heavy metals, phenolic acids, alkylphenols and their etoxylates, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, organotin compounds, phthalates, polybrominated organic compounds, sodium polyphosphate, short and medium chain chlorinated paraffins, perfluoro-compounds, cyanides and pesticides. It was not possible to determine the concentrations of all of the listed substances in Estonia. Therefore some analyses were carried out at GALAB Laboratories (Germany).

Obtained information on hazardous substances facilitates the further enhancement of the national Estonian monitoring programme and the emissions control of hazardous substances. Screening results contribute to Estonia's reporting on hazardous substances to the European Commission and the HELCOM.

Acknowledgement: Research was funded by the LIFE07 ENV/EE/000122 Project "Baltic Actions for Reduction of Pollution of the Baltic Sea from Priority Hazardous Substances" Financed by the European Union's LIFE+ programme, Estonian Environmental Investment Centre and Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs.

Ott Roots, Hannu Kiviranta, Tagli Pitsi, Panu Rantakokko, Päivi Ruokojärvi, Mart Simm, Raivo Vokk, Leili Järv. Monitoring of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, polychlorinated dibenzofurans, and polychlorinated biphenyls in Estonian food. Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, 2011, 60, 3, 193-200; doi: 10.3176/proc.2011.3.08. Link to article.

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