Passive Sampling in Regulatory Chemical Monitoring of Nonpolar Organic Compounds in the Aquatic Environment

Kees Booij, Craig D Robinson, Robert M Burgess, Philipp Mayer, Cindy A Roberts, Lutz Ahrens, Ian J Allan, Jan Brant, Lisa Jones, Uta R Kraus, Martin M Larsen, Peter Lepom, Jördis Petersen, Daniel Pröfrock, Patrick Roose, Sabine Schäfer, Foppe Smedes, Céline Tixier, Katrin Vorkamp, Paul Whitehouse

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review

716 Downloads (Pure)


We reviewed compliance monitoring requirements in the European Union, the United States, and the Oslo-Paris Convention for the protection of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic, and evaluated if these are met by passive sampling methods for nonpolar compounds. The strengths and shortcomings of passive sampling are assessed for water, sediments, and biota. Passive water sampling is a suitable technique for measuring concentrations of freely dissolved compounds. This method yields results that are incompatible with the EU's quality standard definition in terms of total concentrations in water, but this definition has little scientific basis. Insufficient quality control is a present weakness of passive sampling in water. Laboratory performance studies and the development of standardized methods are needed to improve data quality and to encourage the use of passive sampling by commercial laboratories and monitoring agencies. Successful prediction of bioaccumulation based on passive sampling is well documented for organisms at the lower trophic levels, but requires more research for higher levels. Despite the existence of several knowledge gaps, passive sampling presently is the best available technology for chemical monitoring of nonpolar organic compounds. Key issues to be addressed by scientists and environmental managers are outlined.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)3-17
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

ACS AuthorChoice - This is an open access article published under an ACS AuthorChoice License, which permits copying and redistribution of the article or any adaptations for non-commercial purposes.


Dive into the research topics of 'Passive Sampling in Regulatory Chemical Monitoring of Nonpolar Organic Compounds in the Aquatic Environment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this