The department has the responsibility for national environmental contaminant monitoring.
Contaminant Monitoring Programmes require samples from different sites in the country to be collected annually for chemical analysis. Reports on the state of the environment, the assessment of time-trends and the spatial variation of contaminants on land, in lakes, at sea and in the coastal waters of Sweden are submitted annually.
The aim of the national monitoring of contaminants is to describe the state of the environment. Estimate the threat of increased levels of contaminants in a local, regional and global perspective. But also to archive current information about the pollution status in relation to earlier situations.
The results form the basis on which the authorities decide on national aims, priorities and what measures must be taken to combat pollution. The data obtained by monitoring are also used to follow up and visualise the effects of measures already taken.
The results of the biological and chemical analyses of organisms collected in sites outside polluted areas, so called reference sites. Are used to make time-trend studies of the concentrations of other substances. Thus enabling authorities, institutions and society as a whole to form a picture of the current status of pollution in the country on a long-term perspective.
The work is part of the National Swedish Monitoring Programme, financed by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, and done in collaboration with institutions for chemical analyses.
Samples of tissues and organs are prepared and stored permanentely in the Environmental Specimen Bank at the Swedish Museum of Natural History.
The contaminant program is divided in three subprogrammes; marin, fresh water and terrestrial environment. Each subprogramme has the following aims: