Lancaster University

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Pollutants and the Environment

09/11/2003 09:27:38

Scientists met this week at Lancaster University’s new Environment Centre to find better ways to measure the effect of pollutants in the environment. They believe that some chemicals which show no adverse effects on their own may have a dramatic toxic effect on human health and the environment when present in a ‘chemical cocktail’ (which is a more realistic situation). For example, chemicals which affect fertility and reproduction by imitating hormones (eg from some plastics and the contraceptive pill) may be more hazardous than was previously thought when they are present together in combination in the environment (such as rivers).

Dr Kirk Semple and Dr Frank Martin from Lancaster University said “Up until now the effect of these chemicals has been measured individually in the laboratory at very high concentrations, but no account has been taken of how they act together at lower more realistic concentrations”.

This workshop is the first of many to be held at the Lancaster Environment Centre which is set to become the home of the largest concentration of environmental ecotoxicologists in Europe.