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Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2000 Feb;45(2):148-76.

Development of methods for evaluating toxicity to freshwater ecosystems.

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  • 1Shell Research Limited, Sittingbourne Research Centre, United Kingdom.


This article presents a summary of a collaborative research program involving five European research groups, that was partly funded by the European Commission under its Environmental Research Program. The objective of the program was to develop aquatic toxicity tests that could be used to obtain data for inclusion at Level 2 of the Risk Evaluation Scheme for the Notification of Substances as required by the 7th Amendment to EC Directive 79/831/EEC. Currently only a very limited number of test methods have been described that can be used for this purpose and these are based on an even smaller number of test species. Tests based upon algae (Chlamydomonas reinhardi, Scenedesmus subspicatus, and Euglena gracilis), protozoa (Tetrahymena pyriformis), rotifera (Brachionus calyciflorus), crustacea (Gammarus pulex), and diptera (Chironomus riparius) were developed. The tests encompassed a range of end points and were evaluated against four reference chemicals: lindane, 3, 4-dichloroaniline (DCA), atrazine, and copper. The capacity of the tests to identify concentrations that are chronically toxic in the field was addressed by comparing the effects threshold concentrations determined in the laboratory tests with those determined for similar and/or related species and end points in stream and pond mesocosm studies. The lowest no-observed-effect concentrations (NOEC), EC(x), or LC(x) values obtained for lindane, atrazine, and copper were comparable with the lowest values obtained in the mesocosms. The lowest chronic NOEC determined for DCA using the laboratory tests was approximately 200 times higher than the lowest NOEC in the mesocosms.

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