More realistic research needed on substances that enter the environment | 11/15/2018 | Staff
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Chemical substances and nanomaterials are processed on a massive scale in diverse products, while their risks have not been properly assessed. Time and again synthesised substances have been shown to pollute the environment more than lab tests predicted. This is the warning given by Professor of Ecotoxicology Martina Vijver from Leiden University in her inaugural lecture on 16 November.

Laboratory tests are inadequate, according to Vijver, because they do not imitate a complete ecosystem. In her inaugural lecture she will discuss in greater detail two examples of substances where more realisticresearch is needed: agricultural toxinsand nanoparticles. "But the same can be saidfor many other groups of substances, such as antibiotics, plasticizers and GenX."

Research - Neonicotinoids - World - Insecticides - Life

Her research on neonicotinoids, the world's best-selling insecticides, shows that aquatic life in the Netherlands has been harder hit than expected."Toxicity protocols that are intended to protect the environment are based on labtests that generally estimate the effects on an ecosystem based on the sum of the effects ona handful of species. They are also exposed to the toxinsunder constant lab conditions. This is a gross oversimplification of the complexity of an ecosystem." Vijver also believes that lab tests do not take adequate account of the fact that chemical substances and organisms cross the boundaries of water, soil and air.

Vijver is one of the initiators of the Living Lab: in 2016, 38 natural ditches were dug out on theLeiden Bio Science Park. The ditches connect directlywith open water, so it...
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