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.

Photo by Linus Nylund on Unsplash

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 introduction videos

Our project coordinator Dr. Sarah Hale presents what exactly is a persistent and mobile substance, and why we need to prevent these from being emitted into the environment.

Our project coordinator Dr. Sarah Hale briefly presents the key working areas of ZeroPM to prevent, prioritize and remove persistent and mobile substances.

Dr. Sarah Hale has to tell you … there were PM substances in your kitchen the whole time!


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

ZeroPM Regulatory Watch update August 2022

As the EU Green Deal roles out, the ZeroPM regulatory watch will announce upcoming initiatives related to persistent and mobile substances. The latest updates are: The public consultation on the upcoming Soil Health Law has started and is open until 24 October 2022. The questionnaire contains a few questions linked to soil contamination and remediation. The deadline …

ZeroPM Regulatory Watch released

ZeroPM just released the first version of the Regulatory Watch. WP3 Policy is hosting the “ZeroPM Regulatory Watch“, which will provide information about upcoming EU Initiatives that will have an impact on the regulation of persistent and mobile substances. This will alert ZeroPM members and interested stakeholders about these initiatives and opportunities for commenting on …

ZeroPM’s first workshop – NEW DATE AND LOCATION!

Due to unforeseen circumstances we had to push forward the date of the first ZeroPM workshop, and the location. ZeroPM’s first workshop will be held on the 7-8’th of February, 2023, in Gothenburg. Please download our flyer below. Registration will open soon, but if you would like a booth, please contact us now.


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

ZeroPM’s GitHub
Help crack the ZeroPM code! The official GitHub repository for ZeroPM can be found here.

ZeroPM on PubChem
The substances that ZeroPM researchers have prioritized for deeper research as part of prevention, prioritization and removal investigations are listed on the ZeroPM’s PubChem page. ZeroPM will add information on these substances via PubChem as part of ambition of Open Science and FAIR data.

ZeroPM Publications
Scientific publications will be posted here. Resources for the water sector, product sector, regulators and other users of ZeroPM results will be published in the near future on dedicated webpages.

H2020 resources
Information about the H2020 funding call, and other research projects funded by this call, please see the dedicated webpage.

Wordclout PMT substances

ZeroPM’s favourite external toys and tools
Useful resources on PFAS, PMT/vPvM substance, QSARs and chemical property databases that will be utilized — and in many cases expanded by — the ZeroPM research team can be found here.