This review on metal pollution in the Dutch IJsselmeer area is importantly based on Dutch, ‘grey’ literature, including studies set going by governmental authorities and meant to steer policy strategies. It deals with supply, distribution and budgets of dissolved, particulate and sedimentbound heavy metals, preceded by a general description of the area, data on the River Rhine as significant source of water and contaminants, as well as by the enumeration of the many functions of the area, since they perfectly illustrate the urgency for protection of fresh water and of the tuning of the interests in an industrialized, overpopulated country, such as The Netherlands are. The metal concentrations measured in phytoplankton, zooplankton, benthos, fish and birds are presented in relation to the IJsselmeer food web. Effects on organisms have hardly been studied so far. The review is summarized in 21 conclusions. Future ecotoxicological research must be better coordinated and emphasize the effects on the level of the community.

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