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Towards sustainable environmental quality: priority research questions for Europe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Paul J. Van den Brink
  • Alistair B. A. Boxall
  • Lorraine Maltby
  • Bryan W. Brooks
  • Murray A. Rudd
  • Thomas Backhaus
  • David Spurgeon
  • Violaine Verougstraete
  • Charmaine Ajao
  • Gerald T. Ankley
  • Sabine E. Apitz
  • Kathryn Arnold
  • Tomas Brodin
  • Miguel Canedo-Arguelles
  • Jennifer Chapman
  • Jone Corrales
  • Marie-Agnes Coutellec
  • Teresa F. Fernandes
  • Jerker Fick
  • Gemma Gimenez Papiol
  • Ksenia J. Groh
  • Thomas H. Hutchinson
  • Hank Kruger
  • Jussi V. K. Kukkonen
  • Stefania Loutset
  • Stuart Marshall
  • Derek Muir
  • Manuel E. Ortiz-Santaliestra
  • Kai B. Paul
  • Andreu Rico
  • Ismael Rodea-Palomares
  • Jorg Rombke
  • Tomas Rydberg
  • Helmut Segner
  • Mathijs Smit
  • Cornelis A.M. van Gestel
  • Marco Vighi
  • Inge Werner
  • Elke I. Zimmer
  • Joke van Wensem
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals have been established to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. Delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals will require a healthy and productive environment. An understanding of the impacts of chemicals which can negatively impact environmental health is therefore essential to the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals. However, current research on and regulation of chemicals in the environment tend to take a simplistic view and do not account for the complexity of the real world, which inhibits the way we manage chemicals. There is therefore an urgent need for a step change in the way we study and communicate the impacts and control of chemicals in the natural environment. To do this requires the major research questions to be identified so that resources are focused on questions that really matter. We present the findings of a horizon‐scanning exercise to identify research priorities of the European environmental science community around chemicals in the environment. Using the key questions approach, we identified 22 questions of priority. These questions covered overarching questions about which chemicals we should be most concerned about and where, impacts of global megatrends, protection goals, and sustainability of chemicals; the development and parameterization of assessment and management frameworks; and mechanisms to maximize the impact of the research. The research questions identified provide a first‐step in the path forward for the research, regulatory, and business communities to better assess and manage chemicals in the natural environment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Early online date19 Jul 2018
Publication statusEarly online - 19 Jul 2018


  • Towards sustainable environmental quality

    Rights statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Paul J. Van den Brink, (2018). Toward sustainable environmental quality: Priority research questions for Europe. Environ Toxicol Chem. doi:10.1002/etc.4205, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 1.12 MB, PDF document

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