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Professor Jacob de Boer is professor in Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Chemosphere (Elsevier). In 2013 he was appointed by the Chinese government as National Expert for China for the period 2013-2018. He is a member of the CEFIC LRI Scientific Advisory Panel (ESAP), the Board of the International BFR symposia series, the Reference Material Review Panel of the EU Joint Research Centre in Geel, Belgium and the QUASIMEME Scientific Advisory Board. He has coordinated a number of European Research projects and a large number of research projects for international organizations and industries. He has published over 230 peer reviewed articles, 20 book chapters and one book on the analysis and monitoring of environmental contaminants. He has organized many workshops, is a regular contributor to radio and television documentaries and news programs on chemical substances, and he is a regularly invited speaker at international symposia.

Professor De Boer has worked for more than 45 years on the contamination of the environment with persistent organic pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), brominated and organophosphorus flame retardants, chlorinated paraffins and many other contaminants. Nowadays, he is also working on perfluorinated compounds (PFAS). He gained a lot of experience in the organisation of international interlaboratory studies on contaminants. He is an advisor for the United Nations Environment Program and various other international organizations. He is member of the editorial board of the Handbook of Environmental Chemistry (Springer), and was guest-editor of special issues for Trends in Analytical Chemistry (2006, 2013), Chemosphere (2008, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2020), Molecular Nutrition and Food Research (2008), and Journal of Chromatography A (2009).


  • Analytical chemistry
  • Environmental chemistry
  • Gas Chromatography/mass spectrometry
  • Preparation of (certified) reference materials
  • Proficiency tests and interlaboratory studies
  • Quality assurance
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  • Flame retardants (BFRs, CFRs, PFRs)
  • PFAS
  • Advice on highly toxic substances
  • Food safety (chemical)

Academic training

  • 1975  BSc Analytical chemistry, Haarlem, The Netherlands
  • 1995  PhD Analytical chemistry, VU University, Amsterdam (Prof. Brinkman), The Netherlands

Professional employment history

  • 2017-2020 Head of VU Dept. Environment & Health
  • 2012-2015 Director of IVM (VU)
  • 2009-2012 Deputy Director IVM (VU)
  • 2006-present  Chair of Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology (VU)
  • 2006-2016 Head Dept. Chemistry and Biology, IVM (VU)
  • 2005-2006 Professor Analytical Environmental Chemistry, Wageningen University, Depts. of Toxicology and Fisheries and Fish Farming (Personal professorship, 20%)
  • 2002-2005 Head Dept. Environment and Food Safety, RIVO (Contract-based laboratory, accredited under the Dutch Council for Accreditation (R097, ISO 17025 and ISO 9001)
  • 1992-2005 Senior scientist, Head Environmental Research Group and Deputy Head of the Dept. Environment, Quality, Technology and Nutrition, RIVO
  • 1986-1992 Junior scientist, RIVO
  • 1976-1986 Head of laboratory, RIVO
  • 1974-1976 Technician, Netherlands Institute for Fisheries Research (RIVO), IJmuiden, The Netherlands

Supervision PhD students


  • Stefan van Leeuwen (2009)
  • Annelies Hommerson (2010)                
  • Arjen Gerssen (2010)
  • Thijs van Boxtel (2010)
  • Eszter Simon (2013)
  • Sicco Brandsma (2014)
  • Joantina van Esterik (2015)
  • Sara Tufi (2016)
  • Xiju Ouyang (2016)
  • Louise van Mourik (2019)    
  • Nick Zwart (2019)
  • Cornelius Rimayi (2019)                               
  • Martin Brits (2020)


  • Liana Bastos Sales
  • Ike van der Veen
  • Kumelachew Mulu Loha
  • Ewa Skocszynska
  • Foppe Smedes


Selected publications

  • De Boer, J., H.M. Stapleton (2019). Assess flame retardants with care - response. Science 365 (6457), 993.
  • Ballesteros-Gómez, A.M., A. Covaci, J. de Boer (2016). Screening of additives in plastics with high resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometry and different ionization sources: direct probe injection (DIP)-APCI, LC-APCI and LC-ion booster ESI. Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 408, 2945-2954.
  • Van Mourik, L., C. Gaus, P. Leonards, J. de Boer (2016).  Chlorinated paraffins – trends in environmental levels - review. Chemosphere 155, 415-428.
  • Ballesteros-Gomez, A., J de Boer P.E.G. Leonards (2013). Novel Analytical Methods for Flame Retardants and Plasticizers based on Gas Chromatography, Comprehensive Two-Dimensional Gas Chromatography and Direct Probe Coupled to Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Ionization-High Resolution Time-of-Flight-Mass Spectrometry. Anal. Chem. 85, 9572-9580.
  • Brandsma, S.H., J. de Boer, P.E.G. Leonards (2014). Organophosphorus flame retardants (PFRs) and plasticizers in house and car dust and the influence of electronic equipment. Chemosphere 116, 3-9.
  • Veen, I. van der, J de Boer (2012). Phosphorus flame retardants: Properties, production, environmental occurrence, toxicity and analysis. Chemosphere 88, 1119-1153.
  • Belpaire, C.G.J., G. Goemans, C. Geeraerts, P. Quataert, K. Parmentier, P. Hagel, J. de Boer (2009).  Decreasing eel stocks : survival of the fattest Ecol. Freshwater Fish. 18, 197-214.
  • De Boer, J., H. Leslie, S.P.J. van Leeuwen, J.-W. Wegener, B. van Bavel, G. Lindström, H. Fiedler (2008). UNEP intercomparisons and training on POPs analysis under the Stockholm Convention. Anal. Chim. Acta 617, 208-215.
  • Skoczynska, E., P. Korytar, J. de Boer (2008). Maximizing chromatographic information from GCxGC-ToF-MS. Environ. Sci. Technol. 42, 6611–6618.
  • De Boer, J., D.E. Wells (2006). Pitfalls in the analysis of brominated flame retardants in environmental, human and food samples – including results of three international interlaboratory studies. Trends Anal. Chem. 25, 364-372.
  • De Boer, J., P.G. Wester, J.C. Klamer, W.E. Lewis and J.P. Boon (1998). Brominated flame retardants in sperm whales and other marine mammals - a new threat to ocean life? Nature 394, 28-29.

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Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water


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