Whether it is DDT, perchlorate, perfluoroalkyl substances, or pharmaceuticals, the process through which a contaminant emerges follows a predictable pattern. First, researchers stumble upon a previously unknown contaminant or observe effects on the health of humans or wildlife that they cannot readily explain. Driven by curiosity and a desire to protect the environment, the researchers, operating on a shoestring budget, publish a paper documenting their initial findings. The attention that their research receives results in a wave of papers on detection, occurrence and toxicology of a now-emerging contaminant.
David Sedlak (Editor-in-Chief), Environ. Sci. Technol., July 10, 2017, 51 (14), pp 7747–7748