Diffuse contamination of natural and built environments

Polluted city

Diffuse contamination refers to situations where the concentrations of one or more substances are becoming, or have become, elevated above their natural levels over a wide area and/or through the contributions of multiple sources. This can involve chemical contamination of air, water, soil, sediments, food or ecosystems, and can be sudden or gradual, and cumulative or reversible. Urban air pollution is one of many examples. In many cases diffuse contamination is benign, but in some cases the levels of contamination become sufficient to cause serious adverse effects. This platform involves research into a wide range of diffuse contamination issues, often with the aim of identifying problems that are poorly characterized before they become serious.

Research projects

  • Prioritization of diffuse contamination issues for public policy and regulatory purposes
  • Trace element accumulation in agricultural soils (cadmium, fluorine, zinc)
  • Arsenic in urban air released from burning treated wood
  • Trace element transfer to rural lake and marine sediments
  • Relationship between limits on benzene in petrol and benzene in urban air

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