Manuela Inácio
Ecotoxicological and human health risk assessment of organic contaminants in Estarreja area – preliminary studies
Environmental matrices such as soils, plants, superficial waters and aquatic organisms can be an indicator of the environmental pollution since they could contain high levels of organic pollutants (OPs) influencing the environment quality and consequently human health. OPs are resistant to degradation and can persist for long times in the environment. These compounds can be transported by wind for long distances and can also easily enter the food chain. People are exposed to OPs by ingestion, inhalation and dermal uptake, causing adverse effects in human health due to their carcinogenic and mutagenic nature.
The exposure risks to ecosystems and human health will be assessed and monitored on some environmental
matrices presents in Estarreja, a very important industrial zone. OPs bioavailability will be assessed and quantified through chemical extractions. Bioacessibility tests will be performed in order to infer about the OPs concentrations that can beincorporated by plants and organisms and eventually reach humans.
This study aims to contribute to a better insight on the behaviour of OPs in the ecosystems dynamics and infer about the real human exposure risks.
This research work will improve current scientific knowledge about the possible existent contamination by the
several OPs, risk assessment and environmental quality of Estarreja area. Assessment of the bioavailability of
pollutants and human health risks will be performed through: chemical extractions and also bioaccumulation,
bioaccessibility and ecotoxicological studies. It will give us new data about toxicity and bioavailability of present OPs. The main focuses are:
1. Analysis of the contamination levels presents in some environmental matrices (soil, plants, superficial waters and aquatic organisms) in Estarreja area;
2. Evaluation of contaminants bioavailability and bioaccumulation levels by using chemical extraction procedures and by evaluating the accumulation of OPs in plants and aquatic organisms;
3. Quantification of OPs bioaccessibility, namely through physiologically based extraction tests on soil, plants, superficial waters and aquatic organisms;
4. Integration of the obtained results in order toassess risks for human health by describing the contamination levels with OPs and their availability to be up taken by humans; at the end, soil and water quality will be linked to the global ecosystem health.
5. Contribute to define criteria for OPs contamination accepted levels based on potential health risks to humans and define protection strategies for this type of contamination.
Projet OHMs
OHM(s) concerné(s)
  • OHM Estarreja


Manuela Inácio obtained a five years degree in Geological Engineering by the University of Aveiro, a Post-Graduation in Educational Sciences, by the Open University, a M.Sc. degree in Environmental Geochemistry and PhD in Earth Sciences by University of Aveiro. In her PhD she produce a first Soil geochemical atlas of Portugal (in press). She was researcher at DGA (Directorate-General for the environment) and at LNEC (National Laboratory for Civil Engineering). Between September of 2009 and September of 2014 holds an Assistant Researcher position at the University of Aveiro and now, after the of almost 3 absent (due a serious illness), she is researcher at GeoBioTec (Geobiosciences Technologies and Engineering Researcher Center).
Her main scientific area of research are: Environmental Geochemistry and Health; Soil Science; Geochemical Atlas; Medical Geology; Evaluation of risk on contaminated areas (soils, sediments ground level dust, vegetation and groundwater in foodstuffs) and health risks. Now she is working on environmental metal exposure and predisposition to develop Alzheimer’s Disease.
She is Chamber of Engineers since 1993, member of Geochemistry Group of the Portuguese Geological Society, member of the International Association of Medical Geology, member of the Portuguese Soil Sciences Society, Portuguese Geologists Association and member of the Directive Board of OHMI Estarreja. She has been participating and coordinating several international and national R&D projects, some with LabEx-DRIIHM. She taught in various master's courses She has published, the majority as first author, more than 70 papers in Scientific Journals and International and National Conferences Proceedings and 9 book chapters.