Micropollutants in water provide a challenge to both science and society. The final consideration is to understand whether they are harmful to human health or to aquatic life and to determine what actions should be taken. The numbers of substances that are being identified requires a new approach to risk assessment and to solving the problem based on proper prioritisation of the needs for more targeted and multidisciplinary research delivering high quality data. The concept of threshold of toxicological concern has been applied to food and could usefully be applied to water. However, this approach also needs to be combined with practical and pragmatic assessments of the behaviour of substances in water and their removal by drinking water treatment. Such an approach provides a bridge from problem identification to problem solving.

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