Cefic-lri Programme | European Chemical Industry Council

ECO3A-UTO: Evaluating Multi-Media Fate and Transport models on a Regional and Global Scale

Principal Investigator

Dr. Frank Wania
University of Toronto
1265 Military Trail
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M1C 1A4
Tel: +1 416 287 7225
Fax: +1 416 516 7279


Dr. Josef M. Pacyna – Norwegian Institute for Air Research
Dr. Michael S. McLachlan – Institute for Baltic Sea Research Germany


Computer models are increasingly used to simulate the behaviour of chemicals in the environment. Based on data on a chemical’s properties, release rates and environmental characteristics, these programmes – known as multimedia fate and transport models (MFTM) predict concentrations in various parts of the environment such as air, water, soil, plants and sediments.
This project aims to validate a regional MFTM for the Baltic Sea and its drainage basin during the past 30 years, in terms of its ability to predict exposure and human residue concentrations of bioaccumulative organic compounds. The Baltic Sea region is uniquely suited for this study because: it includes terrestrial, aquatic and marine environments; persistent, bioaccumulative chemicals are perceived to pose a human health risk in this region; unusually large data sets of measured historical concentrations are available; and emission estimates, though uncertain, are available.
Based on the availability of emission and observational data, the major focus will be on individual constituents of the PCBs, HCHs, PCDD/Fs and PAHs. Several complementary techniques will be used to compare model predictions with the observed behaviour of contaminants released into the environment in the past. Each technique focuses on a different aspect of chemical behaviour, such as the ability of the model to describe concentration differences in space or time. Researchers will also investigate how to evaluate the performance of models that describe a chemical’s behaviour in the entire global environment. The ultimate aim is to determine which chemicals and regions the models can be used for, and how good their predictions are likely to be.
The overall aim is to evaluate whether multimedia fate models describe the environmental fate and transport of bioaccumulative chemicals well enough to be useful in assessment of risk to humans through dietary exposure. 

Follow-up projects: ECO3A.2 and ECO3A.3

Related Publications

K Breivik, F Wania, DCG Muir, M Alaee, S Backus, G Pacepavicius, Empirical and modeling evidence of the long-range atmospheric transport of decabromodiphenyl ether, Environmental Science & Technology 2006, 40, 4612-4618.

F Wania, K Breivik, NJ Persson, MS McLachlan, CoZMo-POP 2 – A fugacity-based dynamic multi-compartmental mass balance model of the fate of persistent organic pollutants, Environmental Modelling & Software 2006, 21, 868-884.

T Meyer, F Wania, K Breivik, Illustrating Sensitivity and Uncertainty in Environmental Fate Models Using Partitioning Maps, Environmental Science & Technology 2005, 39, 3186-3196.

L Shen, F Wania, Compilation, evaluation and selection of physical-chemical properties for organochlorinated pesticides, Journal of Chemical & Engineering Data 2005, 50, 742-768.


G Czub, MS McLachlan, Food Chain Model to Predict Contaminant Levels in Humans, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 2004, 23, 2356-2366.


G Czub, MS McLachlan, Bioaccumulation Potential of Persistent Organic Chemicals in Humans, Environmental Science & Technology 2004, 38, 2406-2412.


H Xiao, N Li, F Wania, A Compilation, Evaluation and Selection of Physical Chemical Property Data for α, β and γ-Hexachlorocyclohexane, Journal of Chemical & Engineering Data 2004, 49, 173-185.


K Breivik, R Alcock ,YF Li, RE Bailey, H Fiedler, JM Pacyna, Primary Sources of Selected POPs: Regional and Global Scale Emission InventoriesEnvironmental Pollution 2004, 128, 3-16.

K Breivik, F. Wania, Expanding the Applicability of Multimedia Fate Models to Polar Organic Chemicals, Environmental Science & Technology 2003, 37, 4934-4943.


JM Pacyna, K Breivik, J Münch, J Fudala, European Atmospheric Emissions of Selected Persistent Organic Pollutants, 1970 -1995Atmospheric Environment 2003, 37, Supplement 1, S119-S131.


SN Meijer, WA Ockenden, A Sweetman, K Breivik, JO Grimalt, KC Jones, Global Distribution and Budget of PCBs and HCB in Background Surface Soils: Implications for Sources and Environmental Processes, Environmental Science & Technology 2003, 37, 667-672.


N Li, F Wania, YD Lei, GL Daly, A Comprehensive and Critical Compilation, Evaluation and Selection of Physical Chemical Property Data for Selected Polychlorinated Biphenyls, Journal of Physical and Chemical Reference Data 2003, 32, 1545-1590.


MS McLachlan, G Czub, F Wania, The Influence of Vertical Sorbed Phase Transport on the Fate of Organic Chemicals in Surface Soils, Environmental Science & Technology 2002, 36, 4860-4867.

Timeline: May 2001 > May 2004

LRI funding: € 235,000

Cefic-Lri Programme Responsible Care

Terms and Conditions of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | Coockie Settings

© Copyright 2017 Cefic | European Chemical Industry Council. All rights reserved.