Studies on the changes in the indicators of environmental condition
Studies of environmental condition indicators are performed with the aim to obtain information about the environmental condition and to include environmental aspects in more comprehensive political planning documents as well as to plan activities and to observe changes. Environmental indicators are important in international comparisons which foster discussions. The monitoring of environmental indicators permits to follow the environmental condition in Latvia and in entire region of the Baltic Sea. Therefore this area of science plays a special role. Every year, more than 5,000 publications have been devoted to the research of environmental condition. It is generally known that the region of the Baltic Sea faces serious environmental problems, including, pollution with industrial and agricultural chemicals as well as eutrophication.
Identification of new sources of pollution and primary pollutants
Living in polluted environment is considered as one of the main risk factors for the health all over the world. Nevertheless the link between environmental pollution and health condition is complex and in many cases there is no sufficient awareness of it. Exposition can happen in various ways. Some polluting substances can cause multiform influence on the health. Long latent periods, cumulative exposition effect and recurrent exposition make it really complicated to determine the link between environmental pollution and health condition. Determination of new sources of pollution is an important scientific work.
Analytical instrumental methods for determining environment polluting substances
Political decisions are justified by environmental analytical chemistry data which have a direct influence on health of people and eco-systems. A topical direction is the extension of the list of polluting components by using mass-spectrometric analysis. In addition to the aforementioned, there is also an increased interest in analysis without a specific target component. The other important direction is the enhancement of the precision of analysis by using high resolution mass-spectrometry and isotopically marked standards. We are directing towards faster analysis with minimum sample preparation because it is an important obstacle for the speed and quality of the analysis despite the development of instruments. The Institute has reached the progress by developing the methods of instrumental analysis for the most important environmental pollutants. Further development of these methods is necessary for the Institute in this area to reach the status of the leading institution in the Baltic Region.
Use of chemical instrumental methods in studies of the dissemination of environmental pollutants
The activities of contemporary society, including agriculture, industry and transport cause a large variety of chemical compounds polluting the environments. These pollutants mainly are released in soil, air and water. Waste can be divided in four categories: agricultural, industrial, utility and nuclear waste. Pollution is also caused by incorrect waste management and storage. A dangerous type of pollution is caused by persistent organic pollutants (POP) – toxic substances that can be produced deliberately for various needs or have developed as by-products of burning or industrial manufacturing, for example hexachlorobenzenes, polychlorinated biphenyls, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), dioxin, furan, dieldrin, aldrin, endrine, chlordane, heptachlor, toxsaphene and mirex. Some persistent organic pollutants for example, aldrin, chlordane, DDT, hexachlorobenzenes, mirex and toxsaphene have been used as pesticides. Currently, food products and surrounding environment contain about 1209 pesticides and their metabolites and decomposition products belonging to more than 100 classes of chemical substances. The use of pesticides is still increasing. Due to the aforementioned reasons and with the aim to summarize the information about the condition of environmental pollution, it is necessary to ensure constant use and development of instrumental methods for the monitoring of chemical pollutants.