Professor Stuart Harrad

Professor Stuart Harrad

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Professor of Environmental Chemistry
Centre for Environmental Research and Justice (CERJ)

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Stuart is an environmental chemist whose research addresses all aspects of the environmental sources, fate and behaviour of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). He has particular interests in human exposure to POPs with a focus on indoor pathways. He is also active in research that explores the environmental forensics utility of chirality.

Stuart is part of the Birmingham Plastics Network, an interdisciplinary team of more than 40 academics working together to shape the fate and sustainable future of plastics.  This unique team brings together chemists, environmental scientists, philosophers, linguists, economists, and experts in many other fields, to holistically address the global plastics problem.

Stuart is a member of the Centre for Environmental Research and Justice (CERJ).


Stuart came to Birmingham in September 1994, becoming Professor of Environmental Chemistry in 2011. Over that time, he has provided lead supervision to over 50 PhD students (from 21 different countries), co-ordinated 12 major international projects, and been PI of ~30 other research projects. Funders of his research are diverse, including: industry and consultancies, Defra, the Drinking Water Inspectorate, the Environment Agency, the EU, the European Chemical Industry Council, the Food Standards Agency, INNOVATE-UK, the Irish Environmental Protection Agency, and the NERC. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers, brought around £5.4M research project funding to Birmingham, and led two REF Impact Case Studies related to the influence of his research on national and international policy on POPs and related chemicals. Teaching interests cover all aspects of POPs and related contaminants and Stuart has also authored a textbook on "How to Conduct your Research Project in Environmental Science". He is Editor-in-Chief of two peer-reviewed journals: Emerging Contaminants, and The Journal of Environmental Exposure Assessment. He is also a member of Defra's Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee.  


Stuart makes a significant contribution to the delivery of the BSc Environmental Science degree programme. He is module leader for:

  • GGM221 Environmental Transfer Processes, and
  • GGM341 Environmental Protection

He contributes to GGM109 Environmental Chemistry and Physics

He teaches on several other MSc programmes both within and external to GEES

Postgraduate supervision

Stuart Harrad’s specific research foci are: the assessment of human exposure with persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and its impacts on environmental and human health. This covers pollution of a wide range of environmental matrices, e.g.: air (indoor and outdoor), indoor dust, food, human and wildlife tissues, sediment, and soil. Particular foci in recent years have been the presence of POPs in the waste stream and the implications for the Circular Economy, as well as using novel in vitro techniques to study human dermal exposure to POPs. Specific contaminants of interest are: brominated flame retardants, chlorinated organophosphate esters, and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). His current research projects include:

Assessing human dermal exposure to POPs;
The presence of halogenated flame retardants and PFAS in waste childcare articles, electronics, furnishings and building materials;
Temporal trends in environmental contamination with POPs as indicators of the impact of regulatory control measures;
Establishing baseline contamination of sediments and soils with emerging contaminants;
Enhancing understanding of the interactions between microplastics and POPs in the environment
Exploring the balance between fire risk and the risk of exposure to chemical flame retardants - informing potential revision of the UK Furniture fire safety regulations

Professor Harrad welcomes enquiries from prospective doctoral researchers in his areas of interest.


Recent publications


Abafe, O, Harrad, S & Abdallah, M 2024, 'Assessment of human dermal absorption of flame retardant additives in polyethylene and polypropylene microplastics using 3D human skin equivalent models', Environment International, vol. 186, 108635.

Namazkar, S, Ragnarsdottir, O, Josefsson, A, Branzell, F, Abel, S, Abdallah, M, Harrad, S & Benskin, JP 2024, 'Characterization and dermal bioaccessibility of residual- and listed PFAS ingredients in cosmetic products', Environmental Science Processes and Impacts .

Burgos Melo, HD, de Souza-Araujo, J, Benavides Garzón, LG, Macedo, JC, Cardoso, R, Mancini, SD, Harrad, S & Rosa, AH 2024, 'Concentrations and legislative aspects of PBDEs in plastic of waste electrical and electronic equipment in Brazil', Science of the Total Environment, vol. 906, 167349.

Ragnarsdóttir, O, Abou-Elwafa Abdallah, M & Harrad, S 2024, 'Dermal bioavailability of perfluoroalkyl substances using in vitro 3D human skin equivalent models', Environment international, vol. 188, 108772.

Olagoke, OM, Oluseyi, TO, Njoku, KL, Harrad, S & Abdallah, MA-E 2024, 'Human Biomonitoring of Novel Brominated Flame Retardants: A Review on Invasive and Non-Invasive Biomarkers', Emerging Contaminants.

Ma, Y, Stubbings, WA, Jin, J, Cline-Cole, R, Abdallah, MA-E & Harrad, S 2024, 'Impact of Legislation on Brominated Flame Retardant Concentrations in UK Indoor and Outdoor Environments: Evidence for Declining Indoor Emissions of Some Legacy BFRs', Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 58, no. 9, pp. 4237-4246.

Licul-Kucera, V, Ragnarsdóttir, O, Frömel, T, van Wezel, AP, Knepper, TP, Harrad, S & Abou-Elwafa abdallah, M 2024, 'Interspecies comparison of metabolism of two novel prototype PFAS', Chemosphere, vol. 351, 141237.

Zhang, K, Carrod, AJ, Del Giorgio, E, Hughes, J, Rurack, K, Bennet, F, Hodoroaba, V-D, Harrad, S & Pikramenou, Z 2024, 'Luminescence Lifetime-Based Sensing Platform Based on Cyclometalated Iridium(III) Complexes for the Detection of Perfluorooctanoic Acid in Aqueous Samples', Analytical Chemistry.

Ma, Y, Stubbings, WA, Cline-Cole, R, Abdallah, MAE & Harrad, S 2024, 'Rising concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in Nigerian foodstuffs despite global restrictions', Emerging Contaminants, vol. 10, no. 1, 100264.

de Boer, J, Harrad, S & Sharkey, M 2024, 'The European regulatory strategy for flame retardants – The right direction but still a risk of getting lost', Chemosphere, vol. 347, 140638.

Page, J, Whaley, P, Bellingham, M, Birnbaum, LS, Cavoski, A, Fetherston Dilke, D, Garside, R, Harrad, S, Kelly, F, Kortenkamp, A, Martin, O, Stec, A & Woolley, T 2023, 'A new consensus on reconciling fire safety with environmental & health impacts of chemical flame retardants', Environment International, vol. 173, 107782.

Ma, Y, Konecna, E, Cline-Cole, R, Harrad, S & Abdallah, MA-E 2023, 'Are UK E-waste recycling facilities a source of environmental contamination and occupational exposure to brominated flame retardants?', Science of the Total Environment, vol. 898, 165403.

Harrad, S, Sharkey, M, Stubbings, WA, Alghamdi, M, Berresheim, H, Coggins, M, Rosa, AH & Drage, D 2023, 'Chlorinated organophosphate esters in Irish waste foams and fabrics: Concentrations, preliminary assessment of temporal trends and evaluation of the impact of a concentration limit value', Science of the Total Environment, vol. 859, no. 1, 160250.

Waiyarat, S, Boontanon, SK, Boontanon, N, Harrad, S, Drage, DS, Abdallah, MAE & Santhaweesuk, K 2023, 'Concentrations of Tetrabromobisphenol-A and hexabromocyclododecane in Thai child daycare centre dust and the exposure risk for young children', Emerging Contaminants, vol. 9, no. 3, 100229.

Review article

Wang, S, Jin, J, Ma, Y, Stubbings, WA, Gbadamosi, MR, Abdallah, MA-E & Harrad, S 2024, 'Organophosphate triesters and their diester degradation products in the atmosphere: A critical review', Environmental Pollution, vol. 346, 123653.

View all publications in research portal


People's exposure to persistent toxic organic chemicals e.g. via inhalation and ingestion of dust and food; measuring levels of these chemicals; sources of persistent toxic chemicals, particularly in indoor environments


Exposure to persistent toxic organic chemicals, inhalation and ingestion of dust and food; measuring levels of these chemicals; sources of persistent toxic chemicals, particularly in indoor environments