Evaluation of contamInants and pathogens of eMerging concern through wAstewater-based epidemioloGy

and risk assessmEnt approaches

The main objective of IMAGE is to address the concern regarding the increasing presence of contaminants and pathogens of emerging concern in the different aquatic environments, and food webs, as well as their eventual impact on human health.


The Albufera
of Valencia

The Ebro River including the delta area and the adjacent coast

Project summary and work packages


Environmental studies


Studies under controlled conditions of environmental relevance


Risk assessment and water based epidemiology


Coordination and dissemination

Expected impacts


IMAGE is expected to have an impact at the scientific, social, and economic levels. For this purpose, pioneering methodologies and perspectives will be used that will contribute to the correct application of EU policies, such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and the Water Framework Directive (WFD), as well as the Zero-Pollution Action Plan for air, water, and soil for better prevention, remediation, monitoring and reporting on pollution.

Expected impacts

More specifically, IMAGE will result in the following contributions to the environment:

  • Improved information about complex mixtures of occurrences of CECs/MCECs in the environment and their relationships with other environmental stressors.
  • Relevant data on the sub-acute ecotoxicological impact of complex mixtures via the application of complementary experimental models and biomarkers, including omic approaches.
  • Identification of suitable indicators for tracking MCECs in aquatic systems.
  • Definition of the influence of CECs in the spread of emerging pathogens and other adsorbed pollutants.
  • Documentation of the trophic consequences of CEC exposure across food webs.
Expected impacts

Further, IMAGE will contribute to the protection of Public Health through the application of WBE and health hazard assessment to provide:

  • Improved knowledge of the human exposure routes for CECs/MCECs.
  • Data on SARS-CoV-2 genomic variations relevant to the vaccine and drug development.
  • Evaluation of the associated risk of ingesting CECs through food, including studies of the effects of cooking.
  • Increase of mechanistic certainty and causality of CEC-related health effects; identification of MOAs and AOPs.
  • Improvement the estimates of human exposure.
  • A more comprehensive prioritization strategies for rapid, relevant and cost-effective evaluation of the impacts of CEC mixtures in the environment and on human health.
  • New knowledge, useful for Human Risk Assessment.



Occurrence, fate and behaviour of Contaminant of Emerging Concern including micro/nano plastics from wasteWATER to food webs (CEC-WATER).


Occurrence, typing, fate and behaviour of Microbial Contaminants of Emerging Concern in aquatic environments and foods (MCEC-WATER).


Innovative New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) for the human health hazard assessment of emerging contaminants present in wasteWATER (NAMs-WATER)