A Review of Ecosystem Protection Efforts by Regulators

Chiscano-Doyle, Carina* (International Center for Toxicology and Medicine, Rockville, MD)
Nealley, Mark
Pirages, Suellen

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Ecosystem concerns have gained more serious consideration by state and federal regulators since 1990. A series of guidances have been produced by regulators in the last ten years which describe basic principles of ecological risk assessments. Guidances for ecological risk assessments help improve the quality of ecological risk assessments and entail different approaches which have been developed by different programs. These approaches include: tier, baseline vs. screen level, and screen level. The purpose of this paper is to highlight guidances previously used in different programs with a major focus on issues of concern in the most recent guidance, The Screening Level Ecological Risk Assessment Protocol (SLERAP). Examples are provided for each major area of concern in SLERAP: 1) a protocol too complex for a screen level approach; 2) the basis for experimental assumptions are questionable; 3) a high level of uncertainty exists due to default values; and 4) the relationships characterized by algorithms are not verified or validated in natural ecosystems. We also discuss an alternative method for screening using comparisons between ecological threshold values for measurement receptors being evaluated.

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