Tom Harner

Senior Research Scientist - Group leader, Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) Laboratory

Current research and/or projects

Process research on the sources and fate of persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic compounds that are susceptible to long-range atmospheric transport

  • Developing new air sampling technologies and strategies for persistent organic pollutants (POPs) including passive air sampling
  • Contributing to Canada's obligations under international treaties on POPs and assessing the effectiveness of control strategies
  • Emerging chemicals research (e.g. polyfluorinated chemicals, flame retardants and current-use pesticides)
  • Process research on surface-air exchange of POPs and source/receptor studies including human expsoure studies (e.g.CHirP - Chemicals, Health and Pregnancy Study)
  • Climate effects on the environmental fate of POPs
  • Air monitoring strategies for polycyclic aromatic compounds in the oil sands region 

Professional activities / interests

Canadian respresentative on several international working group(s) dealing with planning/reporting under the Effectiveness Evaluation of the Stockholm Convention on POPs and the Global Monitoring Plan

Pioneer of the PUF-disk passive air sampler and manager of the Global Atmospheric Passive Sampling (GAPS) Network - the first initiative to measure POPs on a global basis

Collaborates nationally and internationally both in government and academia, leading a research group comprising staff scientists, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students

Education and awards

Excellence in Review Award - Environmental Science & Technology (2007)

Roy F. Weston Environmental Chemistry Award - Society for Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry (2003)

Ph.D. - Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry (University of Toronto, 1998)

Key publications

Genualdi, S., Harner, T., Cheng, Y., MacLeod, M., Hansen, K. M., van Egmond, R., Shoeib, M., Lee, S. C. 2011. Global distribution of linear and cyclic volatile methyl siloxanes in air. Environ. Sci. Technol. 45: 3349-3354.

Genualdi, S., Lee, S. C., Shoeib, M., Gawor, A., Ahrens, L., Harner, T. 2010. Global pilot study of legacy and emerging persistent organic pollutants using sorbent-impregnated polyurethane foam disk passive air samplers. Environ. Sci. Technol. 44: 5534-5539.

Pozo, K., T. Harner, S.C. Lee, F. Wania, D.C.G. Muir and K.C. Jones. 2009. Seasonally resolved concentrations of persistent organic pollutants in the global atmosphere from the first year of the GAPS study.  Environ. Sci. Technol. 43: 796-803.

Shoeib, M., T. Harner and P. Vlahos. 2006. Perfluorinated chemicals in the arctic atmosphere. Environ. Sci. Technol. 40:7577-7583.

Macdonald, R.W., T. Harner and J. Fyfe. 2005. Recent climate change in the Arctic and its impact on contaminant pathways and interpretation of temporal trend data. Sci. Total. Environ. 342:5-86.

Harner, T., M. Shoeib, M. Kozma, F.A.P.C. Gobas and S.M. Li. 2005. Hexachlorocyclohexanes and endosulfans in urban, rural and high altitude air samples in the Fraser Valley, British Columbia: evidence for trans-Pacific transport. Environ. Sci. Technol. 39:724-731.

Research facility

4905 Dufferin Street
Toronto, ON M3H 5T4


Adjunct Professor - University of Toronto, Graduate Department of Physical & Environmental Sciences

Adjunct Professor - Trent University, Environmental & Life Sciences Graduate Program

Professional Engineer (Ontario) since 2001