Environmental Chemistry

The section for Environmental Chemistry hosts 16 researchers and engineers with a broad range of experience and expertise. A common theme for all research activity in the section is the link (in chemistry) between human population and the environment. This includes both the impact of human population on the environment, and also the impact to human health of exposure to chemicals in our environment.



Our field of expertise includes:

  • Developing and adapting analytical and sampling methods
  • New contaminants: pharmaceuticals, drugs, biocides, peroxides, UV-screens, etc.
  • Passive samplers for a variety of organic and inorganic parameters
  • Nanoparticles, metals speciation

Activities within the section for Environmental Chemistry are anchored on a history of analytical chemistry.  Researchers carry out method development, and analyze samples (water, sediments, sludges, biota) for the presence of an array of chemical species. These include new emerging pollutants, pharmaceuticals and veterinary medicines, pesticides, biocides and classic POPs. The section houses advanced analytical instrumentation for the purpose. 

The current instrument park includes:

  • LC-MS/MS
  • GC-MS/MS

Beyond analysis, the section also conducts valuable research into minimizing the impact of chemicals on the environment. This includes the study and modelling of the fate of contaminants, and also designing better methods for removal of contaminants in process-streams to minimize discharges.

Specific Research Areas

Non-target and Suspect Screening

A key focal-point of the section is ground-breaking research and development of new and innovative algorithms for the interrogation of HRMS datasets. For a list of recent scientific publications in this field, see Saer Samipour.

Miljøkjemi 2

Wastewater-based Epidemiology

Researchers in the section are world leaders in this field. We work by analysing communal wastewaters for exogenous and endogenous biomarkers in order to estimate human exposure to chemicals. Our research network contains scientists working in different research areas, including analytical chemistry, physiology and biochemistry, sewage engineering, spatial epidemiology and statistics, and conventional epidemiology.

Further reading

Impacts of microplastics (MPs) on agriculture systems and stream environments

A large fraction of MPs produced in industrialized countries is intercepted by sewers. A sizeable fraction of sewage sludge is then spread on agricultural lands. This is alarming as plastic polymers can contain toxic compounds and endocrine disrupting substances. Researchers in the section strive to contribute substantially to an avoidance of pollution in agricultural landscapes and the development of guidance on how drainage management may influence MP mobility. This highly interdisciplinary work includes risk communication, stakeholder engagement, ecotoxicology, catchment modelling, decision support tools, monitoring, and the raw experimental work needed to understand, and then minimize, threats associated with MPs in agrosystems

Further reading

The Nordic Center of Excellence on Bioeconomy – NordAqua

NordAqua will develop production platforms aimed at improving and diversifying current aquatic phototrophic production systems in Nordic countries.

(Photo: Max Lotternes, NIVA)

Last updated 07.12.2018