Network on Technology-Critical Elements:
From Environmental Processes to Human Health Threats

There are a number of trace elements that were considered just as laboratory curiosities but now are key components for the development of new technologies. For most of these elements, the present understanding of their concentrations, transformation and transport in the different environmental compartments is scarce and/or contradictory. These elements, here defined as technology-critical elements (TCEs) include Ga, Ge, In, Nb, Ta, Te, Tl, the platinum group elements (Ir, Os, Pd, Pt, Rh and Ru), and most of the rare earth elements (Ce, Dy, Er, Eu, Gd, Ho, La, Lu, Nd, Pr, Sm, Tb, Y, Yb) . They are undergoing a significant change in their cycle at the Earth’s surface due to their increase use in a variety of technological applications. Their impact on their biogeochemical cycles and potential biological and human health threats needs to be further explored.

The proposed action will cover:


Analytical challenges for quantitative and screening purposes


Environmental processes including biogeochemical cycles of the TCEs


Exposure of humans to these elements and their compounds through air, water, and food, and potential ecological and human health threats (eco-toxicology)


The action will create a network of scientists working and interested on TCEs with the aim of defining the current state of knowledge and gaps, proposing priority research lines/activities, and acting as a platform for new collaborations and joint research projects. 






COST is supported by the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020

Last update: NOA. 06/06/2019