What are Emerging pollutants (Eps)?
Emerging pollutants (EPs) are compounds of diverse origin and chemical nature which are present in the environment. Since they were not considered in the past, they have not been studied in depth at a scientific level. For this reason, they are more accurately referred as contaminants of emerging concern. In many cases, it is still not known whether they pose an ecological risk or present potential adverse health effects (Dulio et al., 2018; Water JPI, 2018).
They include a wide range of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, personal care and flame-retardant compounds, as well as surfactants, plasticizers and industrial additives. Most of these compounds are still unregulated. However, they may be candidates for future regulation depending on the research conducted on their occurrence and impact on the environment, as well as on their possible harmful effects on health.
In 2015, the European Union launched a “Watch List” (Decision 2015/495) to monitor, within the scope of the Water Framework Directive (WFD), these and other pollutants with a view to their potential future regulation.