Background Document on CEMP Assessment Criteria for QSR 2010

TitleBackground Document on CEMP Assessment Criteria for QSR 2010
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2009
ISBN Number978-1-907390-08-1
Other NumbersPublication No 461

Assessments of monitoring data for hazardous substances in the environment require relevant assessment tools. For the OSPAR Co-ordinated Environmental Monitoring Programme (CEMP), there is a need for agreement on assessment criteria for the hazardous substances analysed in marine sediments and biota. These include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), chlorobiphenyls (CBs) and the metals mercury, cadmium and lead. Assessment criteria are needed that relate to the key thematic questions set out in the OSPAR Joint Assessment and Monitoring Programme for hazardous substances, i.e.:

  • What are the concentrations in the marine environment, and the effects, of the substances on the OSPAR List of chemicals for priority action (“priority chemicals”)? Are they at, or approaching, background levels for naturally occurring substances and close to zero for man made substances?
  • Are there any problems emerging related to the presence of hazardous substances in the marine environment? In particular, are any unintended/unacceptable biological responses, or unintended/unacceptable levels of such responses, being caused by exposure to hazardous substances?  

For summarising and presenting assessments in a visual and meaningful way colour-based classification systems can be used based on the agreed assessment criteria. A common understanding of the meaning of any such classification scheme is needed. 

This background document has been developed to support the assessment of OSPAR CEMP data underpinning the OSPAR Quality Status Report 2010. It provides the background for the agreement on CEMP Assessment Criteria for the QSR 2010 (Agreement number: 2009-2) adopted by the OSPAR Environmental Assessment and Monitoring Committee in 2009 and provides a background on their application. The results from application of these assessment criteria are provided in the 2008/2009 CEMP assessment report (publication 2009/390).