Concentrations of contaminants

General information

The monitoring of contaminant concentrations covers several chemical parameters in fish, shellfish, water and sediments. HELCOM core indicators for concentrations of hazardous substances include:

Hexabromocyclodocecane (HBCD), Perfluorooctane sulphonate (PFOS), Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and dioxins and furans, Polyaromatic hydrocarbons and their metabolites, Metals (lead, cadmium and mercury), Radioactive substances: Caesium-137 in fish and surface waters, and Tributyltin (TBT) and imposex.

The programme covers all of the HELCOM core indicators related to hazardous substances, but not in all matrices and areas.


 

Sub-programme: Contaminants in water

HELCOM monitoring covers a wide range of contaminant concentrations in water including, but not limited to, metals, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), tributyltin (in ion form) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

HELCOM Monitoring of radioactive substances monitoring (MORS) covers concentrations of radionuclides in seawater. Obligatory radionuclides include Cs-137 and Cs-134, if possible. Sr-90 should be monitored regularly, on a selected number of samples.

 

Sub-programme: Contaminants in sediment

HELCOM monitoring covers a wide range of contaminant concentrations in sediment including, but not limited to, metals, tributyltin (in ion form) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

HELCOM Monitoring of radioactive substances (MORS) covers concentrations of radionuclides in sediment. Obligatory radionuclides include gamma-emitters (K-40, Cs-137 and other γ-emitters identified in the γ-spectrum).


 

Sub-programme: Contaminants in biota

HELCOM monitoring covers a wide range of contaminant concentrations in biota including, but not limited to, metals, tributyltin, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins and furans. Finally, HELCOM monitoring is under development regarding these substances: hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), perfluorooctane sulphonate (PFOS) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).

Current monitoring on contaminants can theoretically be used to follow progress towards the HELCOM objective 'Fish safe to eat'. However, there is no specific monitoring programme for the objective and methodologies e.g. relating to species size, matrix, traceability of origin differ and the relationship between the two strands of monitoring has not been clarified yet.

HELCOM monitoring of radioactive substances covers oncentrations of radionuclides in biota including fish, aquatic plants and benthic animals. Obligatory radionuclides include gamma-emitters (K-40, Cs-137 and other relevant γ-emitters identified in the γ-spectrum).


 

Responsible HELCOM subsidiary bodies

State and Conservation

MORS Expert group (radioactive substances)

Contact information: HELCOM Secretariat