Welcome to ZeroPM

ZeroPM is a research project funded by EU’s research and innovation funding programme, Horizon 2020. ZeroPM will enable the EU Green Deal‘s ambition towards Zero Pollution of Persistent, Mobile Substances.

ZeroPM will interlink Prevention, Prioritization, and Removal strategies to achieve it’s goals.

Prevent Prioritize Remove


Wordcloud PMT substances Source: Michael Neumann / UBA
Source: Michael Neumann / UBA

ZeroPM Science-Policy Webinar #5: A spotlight on the current policy and science of F-gases

Announcing the ZeroPM Science-Policy webinar: A spotlight on the current policy and science of F-gases The free webinar will be on the 1st of July, 2:30 – 3:30 CET. Please find the invitation below and use this link to register. The spotlight is firmly places on F-gases, both from a policy and scientific perspective. F-gases are the …

The ZeroPM presentations and platforms at SETAC Seville are now online!

Several members of ZeroPM attended SETAC Seville to present their latest results on preventing, prioritizing and removing persistent and mobile substances. We obtained some excellent feedback going forward. The material ZeroPM presented is (mostly) online, and now accessible to those who were not at SETAC! See the links below Prevention Eleni K. Savvidou, Amanda Rensmo, …

What is a Persistent and Mobile Substance?

Chemicals that do not degrade in the environment, “forever chemicals” and “persistent chemicals”, are increasingly recognised as a global threat.

They are now ubiquitous in drinking water and in human blood of the global population. They are very difficult remove once in the environment and the sources of our drinking water. They are often transported over vast distances. Persistent and mobile chemicals can be found in the most remote places, including the Mariana Trench and in the blood of Arctic animals such as polar bears. Without action, their presence will only increase and accumulate.

Chemicals that are persistent have until recently been targeted by regulation only if they are also accumulating in living organisms (bioaccumulation). Recently, though, it has been recognized that persistent chemicals that remain in the water phase and thereby can move over wide distances (mobility) are equally problematic.

The combination of persistence and mobility makes it difficult to remove such chemicals during drinking water production, at sewage treatment plants or though natural processes like bio degradation and groundwater filtration. Persistent and mobile chemicals remain in drinking water even after purification. They are found in aquifers and can waterways even in the most remote areas of the planet, threatening the few, truly pristine water sources we have left. This project is about building on the existing knowledge base and find solutions to how to reduce the presence of these persistent and mobile (PM) chemicals in the environment. We will prevent their emissions, prioritize the most urgent ones to address and remove them from the environment. Welcome to ZeroPM!


ZeroPM will be the pathfinding project enabling the ambitions of the Chemicals Strategy of zero pollution of persistent and mobile substances to become an on-the-ground reality. ZeroPM is a research project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme that will run from October 2021 – October 2026. ZeroPM will interlink and synergize three strategies to protect the environment and human health from persistent, mobile substances: Prevent, Prioritize and Remove.


To Prevent pollution of persistent and mobile (PM) substances, ZeroPM will activate the momentum of the EU’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability Towards a Toxic Free Environment (also referred to as the Chemicals Strategy) to support its implementation through the development of scientific, policy and market tools for the substitution and mitigation of prioritized, non-essential persistent and mobile substances to safer and sustainable alternatives. ZeroPM will:

  • Provide safer chemical alternatives to non-essential uses of persistent and mobile substances
  • Stimulate and support policy changes to more effectively tackle persistent and mobile substances
  • Assist a market transition away from harmful persistent and mobile substances


To choose the persistent and mobile substances for which this is most urgent, ZeroPM will Prioritize persistent and mobile substances and substance groups through the development and application of robust screening and prioritization tools. These tools will identify all persistent and mobile substances on the global chemical market, taking into consideration their production, use, presence in the circular economy, exposure, hazards and risks. ZeroPM will:

  • Prioritize persistent and mobile substances and substance groups on the global chemical market for prevention and removal
  • Characterise and quantify impacts of persistent and mobile substances on human health and the environment


To Remove, ZeroPM will focus on geographically impacted areas and prioritized groups of PM substances, and develop next generation remediation methods to remove persistent and mobile substances from water resources, drinking water and sludge-derived products. ZeroPM will:

  • Demonstrate how and if legacy persistent and mobile substance pollution can be remediated

Multilevel Framework

The complex relationship between the necessity of prevention, prioritization and removal approaches to reduce persistent and mobile substance pollution will be addressed in ZeroPM via the establishment of an evidence-based multilevel framework. The framework will guide policy, technological and market incentives to minimize use, emissions and pollution of entire groups of persistent and mobile substances. Two potential negative outcomes that can arise when not taking a systemic approach to chemical pollution are regrettable substitution (substituting one problematic chemical for another) and regrettable remediation (investing in remediation efforts more that cause more damage than the substance itself).

ZeroPMs’ multidisciplinary team has expertise within physical, life, social and behavioural sciences, policy and communication. Together with stakeholders, ZeroPM will develop, explore and critically evaluate strategies to Prevent, Prioritize and Remove persistent and mobile substances from the environment.

ZeroPM’s overall objective is: To establish an evidence-based multilevel framework for minimising use, emissions and pollution from persistent and mobile substances to protect European water resources and avoid risks to humans.

Work Packages

There are 8 central work packages in ZeroPM, which are all interconnected. WP1 will be monitoring and in contact with all of these work packages, as presented below.

To see the researchers involved in ZeroPM, please visit our work package specific pages:

WP1 Project Management – lead Hans Peter Arp (NGI)

WP2 Alternatives Assessment – lead Ian Cousins (Stockholm University)

WP3 Policy – lead Lise Oules (Milieu Consulting)

WP4 Market Transition – lead Anna Lennquist (ChemSec)

WP5 Substance Grouping – lead Hans Peter Arp (NGI)

WP6 Risk Assessment – lead Timo Hamers (VUA)

WP7 Technical Solutions – lead Marcel Riegel (DVGW)

WP8 Dissemination and Communication – lead Sarah Hale (DVGW)

Following this link you can also find a specific page on ZeroPM’s Aims & Objectives.

ZeroPM Deliverables

A list of ZeroPM project deliverables can be found below.

Publications, early data releases, presentations and other open access resources are published live on ZeroPM’s Zenodo community!

Deliverable 1.3: Project Management Handbook including a risk management plan, NGI, December 2021.

Deliverable 3.1: Report on EU-level policy zero-pollution ambitions: analysis of actions, needs, and challenges for meeting ambitions, MILIEU, June 2022.

Deliverable 3.5: Policy briefs presenting key findings and recommendations for policy actions. First brief, MILIEU, September 2022.

Deliverable 4.1: Online PFAS guide for companies, ChemSec, February 2023.

Deliverable 7.1: Ad-/desorption performance of IEX resins towards short-chain PFAA, DVGW, February 2023.

Deliverable 7.3. Passive sampling tool for sampling PM substances in a range of matrices, NIVA, September 2023.

Deliverable 8.1: Dissemination and Exploitation Plan, NGI, March 2022.

Deliverable 8.2: ZeroPM website, NGI, December 2021.

Deliverable 8.3: ZeroPM communication plan, NGI, March 2022.