Increasing geopolitical concerns surround the sustainable use of Rare Earth Elements (REEs). Given that REEs are essential for the uninterrupted function of our economy and information flux, plans to reduce the European Union (EU) complete dependence from foreign supply range from recycling and recovery to (re)opening of mining sites are under consideration. This would not be without danger for the environment. Ad instance, some chemical elements, like thee Gadolinium, are used in hospitals. The dissemination goes all around and has an impact on the ecosystems. Patterns are changing and we don’t know what it means for the environment including humans.
So far, no regulatory thresholds for REE concentrations and emissions to the environment have been set because information on risks from REE is scarce. However, evidence gathers that REEs have to be acknowledged as new, emerging contaminants with manifold ways of entry into the environment.