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The Food Web Approach in Ecotoxicological Risk Assessment

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The Standing Committee on Ecotoxicology of the Health Council of the Netherlands (see note at the end of this article) has reported on the potential and limitations associated with the use of food web models in ecotoxicological risk assessment. This paper closely follows the executive summary of that report. The current appoach in ecotoxicological risk assessment is based on single species toxicity tests. It is felt that the food web approach, which takes feeding relationships between species in ecosystems into account, provides an opportunity to address effects of toxic substances on the ecosystem level. It is considered to be particularly useful in site-specific risk assessment concerning specific (types of) ecosystems. However, supplementary research must be carried out before food web models can be used in ecotoxicological risk assessment.

Keywords: ecosystem; food web; risk assessment; toxic substances

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Health Council of the Netherlands, Sir Winston Churchilllaan 368, The Netherlands 2: Centre of Environmental Science, Leiden University, The Netherlands 3: Vrije Universiteit, Department of Ecology and Ecotoxicology, The Netherlands

Publication date: 1998-02-01

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