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Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2009 Nov;72(8):2037-45. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2009.08.009. Epub 2009 Sep 11.

The impact of an additional ecotoxicity test on ecological quality standards.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Science, Radboud University Nijmegen, P.O. Box 9010, NL-6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


The present study aims to support decisions on whether or not to perform an extra toxicity test in order to improve environmental quality standards (EQSs). The impact of an additional ecotoxicity test was analyzed by predicting new ecotoxicity values with three different estimation methods and adding them to existing species sensitivity distributions (SSDs) on which the EQSs are based. The results show that EQSs are likely to increase due to increasing sample size, but the change also depends on the number of toxicity values available, the estimation method used and the representativeness of the species tested. The management consequences are illustrated in a case study on contaminated freshwater sediment in the Netherlands. It is shown that a slight increase of the EQS can result in a large reduction of sediment remediation costs without impairing regulatory protection levels. The paper identifies indicators that can be used to evaluate the potential impact of an extra ecotoxicity test.

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