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Ecological Risk Assessment Approaches Within the Regulatory Framework

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Ecological risk assessment has a short history but a framework similar to human health risk assessment. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) played a significant role in the development of the ecological risk process. Data developed and risk procedures used within TSCA and FIFRA have become generally standardized. Fundamental components of the risk process require data on the effects of chemicals in the form of concentration (or dose) -- response profiles for species and an exposure profile to quantify the magnitude, spatial and temporal patterns of exposure relevant to significant biological endpoints being studied. Risk characterization generally involves comparing exposure and effects using point estimates ( e.g. , quotient method) but risk estimation is moving toward a probabilistic approach by comparing distributions of values with more consideration of the sources of uncertainty. Ecological testing guidelines in TSCA and FIFRA are discussed along with the risk characterization process used in each statute.

Keywords: Federal Insecticide; Fungicide; Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA); USEPA regulations; and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA); ecological risk assessment; pesticide registration

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199 2: U.S. EPA Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, Washington, D.C. 20460

Publication date: August 1, 1998


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