The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) has published a comprehensive report entitled “Development of the first Watch List under the Environmental Quality Standards Directive”. The Environmental Quality Standards Directive lists toxic compounds and their maximum permitted levels for water bodies as defined in the Water Framework Directive.
The Commission have tasked the JRC to develop a Watch List of compounds which need further monitoring before possible listing in the Environmental Quality Standards Directive as a priority substance or a priority hazardous substance. This Watch List will contain 10 compounds; 3 have already been listed: the pharmaceuticals diclofenac, 17-beta-estradiol (E2), and 17-alpha-ethinylestradiol (EE2).
This new report highlights the processes to develop a shortlist from which seven further compounds will be added to the Watch List. The candidate compounds on this shortlist are: trichlorfon, cyclododecane, imidacloprid, diflufenican, oxadiazon, tri-allate, methiocarb, 2,6-di-tert-butyl-4-methylphenol, thiacloprid, aminotriazole, clothianidin, chromium trioxide, thiamethoxam, 2-ethylhexyl 4-methoxycinnamate, dichlofluanid, formaldehyde, dimethenamid-P, triphenyl phosphate, acetamiprid, erythromycin, clarithromycin, ciprofloxacin, tolylfluanid, azithromycin and free cyanide.
If any of these compounds progress to the Watch List it is important that the capability for analytical laboratories in Member States exists to measure these at the levels of interest, which are frequently at extremely low concentrations, which can be at the ng/L level. The report highlights where analytical methods do exist for specific compounds as well as drawing attention to where there are gaps or difficulties with existing analytical procedures.