To be or not to be degraded: in defense of persistence assessment of chemicals

Characterizing the degradation behavior of chemicals in the environment is a key component of chemical hazard and risk assessment. Persistence has been successfully characterized for readily and for slowly degradable chemicals using standardized tests, but for the third group of chemicals with intermediate degradability (“middle group”), the assessment is less straightforward. Whether chemicals of this group behave as persistent or not in a given environment depends on environmental factors such as the presence of sorbents that can limit the bioavailability of chemicals.