Ecological risk assessment involves determining the hazards and risks posed by a stressor, such as a chemical in the environment, to the survival and health of ecosystems. Ecological risk assessment follows similar concepts to human health risk assessment, with the following major components:
- Problem Identification and Exposure Assessment, which involve defining the problem by gathering information on the site-specific stressors (e.g. chemicals) and the potentially affected organisms in the surrounding environment, as well as their possible exposure pathways (e.g. water, deposition from air, soil).
- Toxicity Assessment, which comprises of compiling all relevant information on the stressor(s) of concern, which may include the types of adverse effects the chemicals can cause over the time frame of interest, the amount of the chemical an organism needs to be exposed to in order to develop these effects, etc.
- Risk Characterisation, which entails combining the information from the exposure and toxicity assessment components in order to provide a quantitative or qualitative estimate of the risk of adverse health effects from exposure to the chemicals of concern.
- Uncertainty Analysis, which involves identifying the major sources of uncertainty in the risk assessment, and the extent of error that could potentially be introduced by the uncertainties and how this may affect the risk assessment outcome and conclusions.
What we provide
Ecological risk assessments can range in complexity from very simple screening assessments (Tier 1) through to complex site-specific assessments (Tier 3). ToxConsult staff have experience with all tiers, and are also able to advise on the appropriateness of testing regimes and monitoring programs to collect meaningful data for use in ecological risk assessment.
ToxConsult also has experience with other aspects of ecotoxicology consulting including:
- Deriving chemical-specific environmental guideline values de novo in accordance with nationally accepted methods.
- Acquiring and collating existing hazard and effects data for a range of chemical stressors to the environment.
- Advising on and coordinating ecotoxicity testing through the use of subconsultant laboratories.
- Deriving environmental hazard classifications for sparingly soluble metal compounds, such as mineral concentrates.