The Earth has remained remarkably stable since the dawn of civilisation 10,000 years ago. In 2009, experts outlined nine boundaries that keep us within the limits of this steady state. They include greenhouse gas emissions, forests, biodiversity, fresh water and the ozone layer.
While we have already estimated the limits for global warming or CO2 levels, scientists have not looked at chemical pollution. The wide range of different polluting sources means that, before now, experts have not been able to reach a conclusion on the state of this particular boundary.
There are reportedly around 350,000 different types of manufactured chemicals – or “novel entities” as they are known – on the global market.Continue reading