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Part 1 - Types of Monitoring. Electronic Tools Side Event UNECE Aarhus Convention 1 st Meeting of the Parties Lucca, Italy October 21-23, 2002. Frances Stanley-Jones International Campaign for Responsible Technology GIS Research Group. Why monitor?.

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part 1 types of monitoring

Part 1 - Types of Monitoring

Electronic Tools Side Event UNECE Aarhus Convention

1st Meeting of the Parties Lucca, Italy

October 21-23, 2002

Frances Stanley-Jones

International Campaign for Responsible Technology

GIS Research Group

why monitor
Why monitor?
  • Community-based monitoring programs are a powerful tool to bring a community together.
  • To gather information about an environmental problem or injustice to convince decision-makers to do something about it.
  • To protect the health and well being of communities and their environment.
we monitor a source or an effect
Monitoring a “source”

Chemical releases

Chemicals in products

Chemicals in food

Hazardous incident

Monitoring an “effect”

Environmental concentrations

Chemicals in food

Biological effects

Human health effects

Ecological effects

We monitor a source or an effect
chemical or pollutant releases
Chemical or pollutant releases


  • Direct measurement of chemicals or pollutants in the environment
    • includes direct releases or emissions
    • includes environmental concentrations
    • releases are not the same as environmental concentrations
chemical or pollutant releases5
Chemical or pollutant releases
  • Advantages:
    • powerful and convincing direct measure of contamination
    • useful for modeling
    • Easy to understand and communicate
  • Disadvantages:
    • often difficult and/or costly
    • sometime have to estimate the release
    • Does not give information about effects
  • Examples:
    • measuring concentration in air, water, soil
    • tons of pesticides sold (is a surrogate for usage)
chemical or pollutant releases6
Chemical or pollutant releases
  • Case Study: Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition shellfish program
  • Measure concentration of mercury and PCBs in shellfish deployed in contaminated streams streams.
    • School kids deployed and collected shellfish.
    • Kids learn about pollution and do something about it.
    • Shellfish accumulate these pollutants.
chemical or pollutant releases7
Chemical or pollutant releases
  • Case Study: Bucket Brigade in South Africa and Swaziland elsewhere.
  • Use simple capture device (special bucket) to sample the air and detect air toxins.
    • Very effective way of measuring air quality in neighborhoods or near pollution sources
    • Great for community participation.
    • Buckets built by participants.
    • Bucket cost ~ $150, lab analysis in US is $450 (is analysis available everywhere?).

Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition Eco-Maps Series

Schools, hospitals and parks shown in relation to chemical sites...

ecological biological effects
Ecological/Biological Effects
  • Definition:
    • Measurement of environmental conditions and their effects on organisms or ecosystems.
  • Advantages:
    • directly measures an impact of contaminants in the environment
  • Disadvantages:
    • Does not, by itself, tell the cause.
    • Requires some expertise
  • Examples:
    • measuring failed to hatch bird eggs
    • Along with chemical concentrations in egg
ecological biological effects10
Ecological/Biological Effects
  • Case Study: Measuring benthic macroinvertebrates in a stream to assess stream condition. Benthic organisms are those that live on the bottom of lakes, rivers, streams, ponds and wetlands.
  • Benthic organisms are good indicators because
    • They are abundant, do not move fast, and are localized due to their restricted mobility and habitat preferences.
    • They are continuously subjected to the full rigor of the local environment.
    • They show range of tolerances to various degrees and types of pollution
    • They integrate the effects of all pollutants and environmental conditions over time.
    • They are collected with relatively inexpensive and easy-to-use equipment.
    • They are readily identified by community members to the order/family level which is useful for interpretation of environmental conditions.
human health body burden
Human Health/Body Burden

Lead to human exposure and possible disease

Toxins from industry, products, and food

body burden monitoring
Body Burden Monitoring
  • Measurement of human health or the measurement of chemicals or pollutants in the human organism.
  • Body Burden refers to naturally occurring or man-made chemicals measured in an individual that serve no useful health or nutritional purposes, and that may be harmful to human health.
human health body burden13
Human Health/Body Burden
  • Advantages:
    • Direct measurement of cumulative exposure
    • Very powerful evidence for use in campaigns
  • Disadvantages:
    • Difficult to interpret meaning of results
    • Difficult to link to disease (lack of toxicology data)
  • Examples:
    • Measuring contaminants in blood, hair, urine
    • Chemicals can accumulate in body and can often be measured.
  • Case Study:
hazardous incidents emergencies
Hazardous Incidents/Emergencies
  • Definition:
    • An acutely hazardous incident poses an immediate threat to human or ecological health.
  • Advantages:
    • Direct and powerful evidence of a threat to human health and well-being.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Could be dangerous or difficult (timing) to measure.
    • What do we measure? And how?
    • What is the impact on health?
  • Examples:
    • Chemical fire, explosion, chemical spill
chemicals in food products
Chemicals in food/products
  • Definition:
    • Investigations into known or suspected toxic chemical substances contained in commercial products or of hazards associated with the use of commercial products.
  • Advantages:
    • Can be helpful in preventing exposure
    • Useful information for campaigns against certain products
  • Disadvantages:
    • difficult to interpret results
    • Need to combine with exposure information
  • Examples:
    • Pesticide residues in food, lead in paint
chemicals in food products16
Chemicals in food/products
  • Case Study: Detecting Pesticide Residues in Food
    • Texas Dept. and United States Dept. of Agriculture
  • Findings:
    • residues in violation were found in 63 samples.
    • Of 63 violative samples, 10 exceeded the tolerance level and the other 53 had residues where no tolerance was established.
    • Residues of 49 different pesticides were detected in approximately 60 percent of all samples.
    • Many samples contained multiple residues, with as many as eight found in one sample.
regulatory performance watchdog
Regulatory performance/watchdog
  • Definition:
    • The monitoring of the performance of organizations both public and private assigned responsibility for a public regulation designed to protect health or the environment.
  • Advantages:
    • This is a way to get those people who are supposed to be protecting us to do their jobs
  • Disadvantages:
    • It may not work because of apathy, corruption, workload, priorities, power of polluters
  • Examples:
    • Publication of agency enforcement statistics
    • Publication of poor regulatory performance
share your experiences
Share your experiences!
  • What sorts of projects are you doing in these areas?
    • What have been the successes?
    • What were the challenges?
  • Are there other categories of monitoring not mentioned here in this workshop?
  • What additional information or technical resources would be helpful to make your projects more successful?