Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 1635–1643 | Cite as

Global trends of research on emerging contaminants in the environment and humans: a literature assimilation

  • Lian-Jun Bao
  • Yan-Li Wei
  • Yao Yao
  • Qin-Qin Ruan
  • Eddy Y. ZengEmail author
Developments and Applications of Environmental Specimen Banks for Monitoring Emerging Contaminants


Available literature data on five typical groups of emerging contaminants (EMCs), i.e., chlorinated paraffins (CPs), dechlorane plus and related compounds (DPs), hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs), phthalate esters, and pyrethroids, accumulated between 2003 and 2013 were assimilated. Research efforts were categorized by environmental compartments and countries, so that global trends of research on EMCs and data gaps can be identified. The number of articles on the target EMCs ranged from 126 to 1,379 between 2003 and 2013. The numbers of articles on CPs, DPs, HBCDs, and pyrethroids largely followed the sequence of biota > sediment ≥ air > water ≥ soil > human tissue, whereas the sequence for phthalate esters was water > sediment > soil > human tissue ≥ biota ≥ air. Comprehensive studies on the target EMCs in biological samples and human tissues have been conducted worldwide. However, investigations into the occurrence of the target EMCs in soil of background areas and water are still scarce. Finally, developed and moderately developed countries, such as the USA, China, Canada, Japan, and Germany, were the main contributors to the global research efforts on EMCs, suggesting that economic prosperity may be one of the main factors propelling scientific research on EMCs.


Emerging contaminant Published article Environmental compartment Economic prosperity 



This work was financially supported by the Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (GIGCAS 135 project Y234081001) and the Natural National Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41121063 and 41329002). This is contribution No. IS-1938 from GIGCAS.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lian-Jun Bao
    • 1
  • Yan-Li Wei
    • 1
    • 3
  • Yao Yao
    • 1
    • 3
  • Qin-Qin Ruan
    • 1
    • 4
  • Eddy Y. Zeng
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Organic GeochemistryGuangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.School of EnvironmentJinan UniversityGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.School of Chemistry and Environmental ScienceSouth China Normal UniversityGuangzhouChina

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