Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Environmental chemistry and toxicology

Assessing the risk of chemicals to the environment requires not only knowledge of the concentrations and potential sources of the substances but also knowledge of the availability of the substances, i.e. the actual exposure and toxicity of the substances under the given conditions.

Our research links activities in the research field of chemical analyses at trace level and thus exposure to the toxicity of the substances in a weighted risk analysis where the quality of data is also included as a parameter. This work includes effect studies on relationships between exposure and toxicity using, i.e. in vivo and in vitro assays as well as biomarker combined with exposure modelling.

The toxicological properties are being evaluated experimentally with tests in the laboratory as well as via computer-based QSAR models based on the structure and chemical properties of the substances as well as computational database analyses.

The assessment can as an example be based on a risk analysis, where the number of data is compared with the quality of data for availability and toxicity, which can give an assessment of the probability that undesirable effects will occur in a certain situation. This is called a weight-of-evidence analysis. Other methods of risk analysis are also used and evaluated, such as

Deterministic (cause and effect); probabilistic (probability of the results); thresholds (toxicity values); screening methods etc.

 

Department of Environmental Science investigate chemicals in a risk-based context, including endocrine disruptors, chemical degradation products, consumer products; degradation products of ammunition in the environment.