Department of Analytical Chemistry. Photo: André Künzelmann/UFZ

Department of Environmental Analytical Chemistry (EAC)

Why do some chemicals and pharmaceuticals reach our drinking water? How does natural organic matter affect the quality of our waters? Which compounds do humans take up from personal care products and what happens to them in our bodies? How can all these compounds be analyzed? Which properties are essential for chemicals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides or nanomaterials to be benign for humans and the environment? Which technologies can remove contaminants from the environment?

Such questions, which are related to the complex interactions of chemicals in natural and technical systems, are within the focus of research in the Department of Environmental Analytical Chemistry. We are developing and using innovative analytical methods to better understand the occurrence and fate of a broad spectrum of contaminants in the environment and in humans, including potential health effects. Such knowledge is the basis for the assessment of chemicals, for fate prediction and improvement of processes for contaminant removal. Science-based evidence is also the foundation on which chemical regulation builds.

We use our broad analytical expertise (a) to develop quantitative methods of high precision and sensitivity suitable for analyzing large numbers of samples and (b) to detect previously unknown contaminants or transformation products and to identify them. Together with partners in academia, industry and authorities we develop solutions and processes that aim at safeguarding humans as well as the environment from harmful chemicals.

Our work is organized in four thematic areas, which are represented by four working groups: