Single-Course English 5 ECTS

Priority Organic Pollutants – Transport, Distribution and Transformation

Overall Course Objectives

The course will provide: (1) general and specific knowledge about several key organic pollutants and (2) general and specific knowledge of transport, distribution and transformation processes that control the exposure, fate and toxicity of these and other organic contaminants.

Learning Objectives

  • Has general and specific knowledge about several key groups of organic pollutants with special emphasis on persistence, bioaccumulation and toxicity (PBT).
  • Will have a general knowledge of the physico-chemical properties of several key groups of organic pollutants.
  • Can identify the governing processes for organic pollutants and evaluate how they affect their fate, exposure and effects in the environment.
  • Can relate these processes to the molecular structure and the physico-chemical properties of the pollutants.
  • Can relate these processes to the characteristics of the environmental compartment.
  • Can identify and evaluate the factors that affect the bioavailability and exposure of chemical compounds in various matrices.
  • Has up to date knowledge about recent trends on PMT substances, PFAS and UVCBs.
  • .

Course Content

The first part of the course covers selected key processes that control the fate, exposure and effects of organic pollutants in the environment. These processes fall within the general categories of transport (diffusion, advection, co-transport), distribution (partitioning, adsorption, entrapment) and transformations (e.g. biodegradation, photodegradation and hydrolysis). These processes will be introduced and described within an environmental organic chemistry context.
The second part of the course covers a selection of key contaminant groups: (1) Legacy persistent organic pollutants (PCBs, DDTs, dioxins), (2) Brominated Flameretardants, (3) Fluorinated organic pollutants, (4) Polyaromatic hydrocarbons including alkylated and hydroxylated PAHs, (5) Polymer additives, (6) Persistent, mobile and toxic chemicals (PMT chemicals), (7) Pharmaceuticals and (8) UVCBs. For each group, there will be emphasis on sources and inputs to the environment, physico-chemical properties, distribution in environmental matrices, transport of compounds within and between matrices, abiotic and biotic transformations as well as environmental and human toxicity. In the lectures and exercises there will be special focus at identifying key substance properties and processes and at discussing how these affect the fate, exposure and effects of the specific chemicals. Some of the lectures will be given by experts with active research on the specific contaminant group.
The course complements the course 12237 “Chemicals in the environment”, and is intended to provide a deeper and broader understanding of key processes and key pollutants within the area of environmental organic chemistry.

Recommended prerequisites

12102/12104/12233/26000/26400, Qualified Prerequisites: 2-3 courses within Environmental Chemical and Biological Processes, Environmental Chemistry, Ecotoxicology, Basic (Organic) Chemistry, Environmental Pollution
and Physical Chemistry.

Teaching Method

Lectures (internal & external) and calculation/computer exercises



The course has changed name from Chemicals in the Environment 2 – Key Contaminants and Processes. The course content is unchanged.

See course in the course database.





13 weeks




DTU Lyngby Campus

Course code 12238
Course type Candidate
Semester start Week 5
Semester end Week 19
Days Fri 8-12

7.500,00 DKK