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Legacy and Emerging Organic Contaminants of Environmental Concern

The Biochemical and Exposure Science Group (BESG) conducts research on organic contaminants in the environment, including legacy contaminants and contaminants of emerging concern (CECs). Legacy contaminants are well-studied and regulated pollutants, while CECs are more recently discovered environmental contaminants with uncertain risks; these compounds can originate from various sources that include consumer products, pharmaceuticals, and plastics.  The BESG plays a crucial role in measuring pollutants by producing reference materials and developing and evaluating analytical methods. The BESG is focused on developing new analytical methods for CECs that use targeted and non-targeted chemical analysis (NTA) approaches. These methods are used by environmental researchers in academia, industry, and government agencies. 

The BESG works with various government agencies and research partners to evaluate the presence of legacy contaminants and CECs in environmental samples, and provides laboratory training to collaborators and students for measuring contaminants.

Programs and Projects

Three NIST staff members sitting together in front of the computer monitor of a GC-MSMS instrument. They are looking at mass spectral data.
Credit: A. Holt/NIST
Stylized figure consisting of the chemical structure of pyrene with four hexagon rings enclosing icons for wind/clouds, waves, tree, and chemical structure.
Credit: J. Kucklick and C. Burdette/NIST
Created November 14, 2023, Updated May 1, 2024