Studies on sediment cores from the Baltic Sea showed that high levels of hydrophobic organic contaminants have been a matter of great concern during the past decades, yet very limited knowledge exists about contamination of the high production volume chemicals chlorinated paraffins (CPs). This is due to the large number of individual isomers in CP products, which has made analysis a challenging task.

CPs belong to the most commonly used flame retardants and plasticizers, with an annual production of up to 1.2 million tons. Short-chain CPs are toxic to numerous aquatic species, and are listed as possible carcinogensThey are currently listed as Persistent Organic Pollutant (POPs) candidates under the Stockholm Convention and have been listed as a Substance of Very High Concern by the European Chemicals Agency.

CP amounts and patterns will be measured in dated sediment segments from sediment cores collected at the Baltic Sea coast. Sediment cores in Himmerfjärden estuary will be obtained with gravity corer and sampled from the new research vessel Electra, which permits sampling with heavy duty equipment. This study will form the basis for a future research effort to investigate current sources of CPs to the Baltic Sea and how they can be controlled. The sediment research will also form the basis for ecotoxicological studies on CPs such as food chain accumulation.

Researchers and departments:
Bo Yuan, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry (ACES)
Anna Sobek, ACES
Cynthia de Wit, ACES
Volker Brüchert, Department of Geological Sciences