Contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) can be defined as any chemicals that are not regulated or commonly monitored but have the potential to enter the environment and cause adverse ecological or human health impacts. Determining which of the thousands of chemicals in commerce are CECs and whether or not they may be a problem is a formidable challenge. For most chemicals in use, a number of limitations prevent researchers from measuring their presence and assessing their potential risks. It is therefore difficult to monitor and manage CECs.
In response, scientists and managers recently completed a Pilot Study Design1 for monitoring CECs in aquatic ecosystems throughout California. The Russian River watershed (RRW) study was the first regional implementation of this Pilot Study Design. The collected data provide useful information for both the Russian River region and the implementation of the monitoring framework in other areas.
The primary objective of this study was to investigate the occurrence of high priority CECs in receiving water, sediment, and fish tissue within the RRW to address the management question: