NEWSTHEPS project grant awarded to GhEnToxLab by BELSPO BRAIN.BE

Together with multiple partner institutions, GhEnToxLab has recently been awarded a significant research grant via the BELSPO BRAIN.BE program to develop “New Strategies for monitoring and risk assessment of Hazardous chemicals in the marine Environment with Passive Samplers” (see the NEWSTHEPS website for more information). Briefly, the project aims to develop innovative approaches and novel practical techniques that address the current fundamental scientific and methodological issues related to the implementation of Good Environmental Status (GES) of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive in national and European waters. In the proposed new research project, novel and integrated passive sampler (PS)-based approaches (modelling and measurements) will be developed for both chemical exposure (monitoring) and biological effect assessment (passive dosing). This novel and integrated approach will allow (1) better measurement of contamination levels in the marine environment, and (2) assessment of the ecotoxicity of multi-component mixtures including possible synergistic and cumulative effects and compound identification. The development and validation of an integrated model to quantify the environmental status of the Belgian coastal zone by predicting accumulation, trophic transfer and effects of chemicals in this specific (local) ecosystem is central in this. In total, 6 stations have been selected for sampling: 2 stations in the harbour of Nieuwpoort, 2 stations in the harbour of Zeebrugge, and two nearshore in the vicinity of either port. As the Belgian Part of the North Sea has been polluted for many years, one of the main challenges will be to propose appropriate measures for problem compounds. Ultimately, our integrated approach will lead to the development of novel procedures.