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EMERGING ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINANTS: CURRENT SCIENCE AND POLICY CONCERNS

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Pp. 181-200 in Animal Agriculture and the Environment: National Center for Manure and Animal Waste Management White Papers. J. M. Rice, D. F. Caldwell, F. J. Humenik, eds. 2006. St. Joseph, Michigan: ASABE.  .(doi:10.13031/2013.20253)
Authors:   Anita R. Bahe, Jane Staveley, John Classen, Bill Williams

Scientists and policy makers have been aware of the inherent risks and inevitable costs associated with environmental pollutionof air, water, soil, sediments, and plants. Contamination of the environment began to increase in tandem with growing industrial economies and rising human population. Undoubtedly scientific advancements have, to a degree, allowed researchers and regulators to monitor, measure, and mitigate contaminants threatening ecological and human health. During the years of industrialization the contaminants most recognized as potential hazards to environmental and human health were the persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and the bioaccumulative compounds including heavy metals and synthetically manufactured organic chemicals. Wall (2004) refers to our current experience as one associated with a chemical age following the industrial age. On a global scale several international environmental conventions resulted in eventual bans on some bio-accumulative compounds and POPs (SAEFLEnvironment Switzerland, 2002). Nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, have also been considered pollutants when loading rates and chemical forms of these compounds adversely affect ecosystem health. Combinations of better science, regulatory controls, and improved technologies have helped to reduce or minimize some of the pollutant problems once considered priorities, particularly those originating from single or point sources. Despite progress in some areas, new and/or recurring contamination problems exist, many from multiple and non-point sources of pollution. Such problems are being referred to as emerging environmental contaminants.

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