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Pacific Coast environments are under constant pressures derived largely from highly developed commercial and residential zones and their diverse, extensive activities.  Among several kinds of 'anthropogenic' pressures, one of the most important is the entry of human-derived chemicals and their bioaccumulation and effects in wildlife.  This presents a particularly challenging and complex problem, given the potential of such contaminants to impact health of wildlife and, by extension, ecosystems.  

Although thousands of compounds are detectable (using modern and highly sensitive technologies), only about 200 are routinely monitored and regulated by most governmental agencies (such as 'water quality' or 'wastewater management' boards).

See the

Centers for

Disease Control

and Prevention


Environmental Chemicals


...also see

Dr. Jeff Armstrong 

Orange County Sanitation District

A comprehensive talk on coastal and ocean contaminants, concerns about their effects, and current strategies in understanding and managing

coastal environments

Increasing numbers of “contaminants of emerging concern” (CECs) including pharmaceuticals, new-use pesticides, personal use compounds, and various industrial chemicals, are known to enter aquatic and other environments of the Pacific coast.  A number of these chemicals are known to be highly bioactive. 


Click on either of the two links above for more information.

Understanding whether - and to what degree - specific compounds persist in the environment and which ones may impact organism health, is critical for effective stewardship and management of sustainable ecosystems. 

PCEC’s mission is to foster science-based understanding, solutions, and education, and it is at the forefront of addressing these critical issues along with a variety of collaborative partners ranging from academic researchers to community groups to governmental agencies.

It is well documented that many Pacific Coast environments are contaminated by human-derived chemicals, particularly in locations adjacent to developed and industrialized urban centers, such as San Francisco Bay, urban southern California, and urban Pacific Northwest.  However, it is not well understood to what extent existing contaminants, many with continuing inflows into the environment, are impacting wildlife.  This kind of information is needed to improve management of coastal environments.  New information on contaminant effects, measured by scientists, can facilitate more effective policies, planning. mitigation, and allocation of resources. 

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Orange County

San Diego

Southern California Bight

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