An extensive and comprehensive literature review has been conducted for compounds which we hypothesise could be present in sludge and maintain their integrity following application to agricultural land. The following compounds have been selected for review; chlorinated paraffins, quintozene, brominated diphenyl ethers, polychlorinated naphthalenes, polydimethylsiloxanes, chloronitrobenzenes, and a range of biologically active and pharmaceutical compounds. All have received interest as a result of their persistence and/or toxicity in environmental media. Physicochemical property information has also been compiled and/or calculated. In this way, an accompanying paper will attempt to predict compound fate in waste water treatment plants (WWTPs) and assess likely transfers from soil/plants to grazing livestock. These papers describe a first attempt to predict the fate of these classes of compounds in the environment and prioritise those of greatest concern.