The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Installations & Environment established the Emerging Contaminants Directorate in 2006 to help the Department of Defense proactively approach emerging contaminants. It enables the DoD to have a fully informed, risk based investment decision process that protects human health and DoD operational capabilities. Learn about their strategic goals for emerging contaminants.

What is an Emerging Contaminant?

According to DoD, Emerging Contaminants are chemicals or materials of interest that are characterized by:

  • A perceived or real threat to human health or environment.
  • A lack of a published health standards or an evolving standard.
  • A contaminant may be "emerging" because of the discovery of a new source, a new pathway to humans, or a new detection method or technology.

DoD's Strategic Goals for Emerging Contaminants
To protect people & enhance readiness by:

  • Applying best science available in the assessment of risk
  • Integrating available information to enhance decisions affected by emerging contaminants
  • Making sound risk management decisions about emerging contaminants

The Emerging Contaminants Directorate is working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal agencies and state organizations on risk assessment process improvements. It is also working with scientists to identify opportunities to fill data gaps so it can recommend research studies with the potential to reduce scientific uncertainties associated with emerging contaminants important to DoD.

The Emerging Contaminants Directorate, in coordination with the Military Services, is developing processes for early identification of emerging contaminants with relevance to DoD; assessment of impacts in the five DoD functional areas, and the development of risk management options.

DoD Materials of Evolving Regulatory Interest Team (MERIT)
Defense Environmental Network and Information Exchange (DENIX)

DoD Interests in Emerging Contaminants
Presentation by Tom Moreshouse, Program Advisor, Emerging Contaminants, Office of the Secretary of Defense