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EMCON 2018 Conference on emerging contaminants

The 6th International Conference on Emerging Contaminants was held in Oslo, Norway, from 25 to 28 June, 2018. The event attracted 140 participants from 26 countries. Patrick Bäuerlein, Erik Emke and Cheryl Bertelkamp presented their work on analysis techniques for nano/microplastics, drugs and pyrazole research, respectively.

The conference opened on Monday evening with presentations by three keynote speakers. Katrin Vorkamp (Aarhus University) spoke about research into the presence of emerging contaminants (particularly microplastics) in the Arctic ecosystem (including in orca whales, polar bears, seals and birds). Microplastics attracted a lot of attention, not only during this keynote, but during the entire conference. Our knowledge of microplastics is however still limited (their presence in sources, and what processes are effective in removing them), and the field is growing very rapidly.

In the second keynote, Alistair Boxall (University of York, England) addressed the problem rapid urbanisation and the lack of understanding about how city residents are exposed to different sources of pollution (air, water). His research group is studying the possibilities of developing a decision support tool, which would map out the pollution sources and study means of reducing them. The work involves the use of sensors and monitoring robots.
Erik Emke geeft presentatie over drugs in afvalwater

Erik Emke makes a presentation on drugs in wastewater.

The last keynote speech was given by Edward Kolodziej (Center for Urban Waters, University of Washington), who talked about the relation between chemicals in rainwater and the ecosystem. Very little research has been done on the type of chemicals that are present in rainwater and the nature of their impact on the ecosystem. The research carried out has shown that there is a relationship between tire rubber leachates (present in the stormwater runoff) and salmon mortality in the research area.

The subsequent days were taken up by a large number of presentations and posters and sharing ideas with each other. The subjects included PFAS, non-target analyses, microplastics, wastewater monitoring/reuse and ecotoxicology. On Wednesday evening, a gala dinner was held at the beautiful Oslo Opera House, with a view over the bay. All in all, a successful conference; we look forward to the next edition in 2020 in Seattle.