Laboratory for Ecological Risk Assessment

Bilthoven, Netherlands

Laboratory for Ecological Risk Assessment

Bilthoven, Netherlands
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van der Grinten E.,Laboratory for Ecological Risk Assessment | Pikkemaat M.G.,Wageningen University | van den Brandhof E.-J.,Laboratory for Ecological Risk Assessment | Stroomberg G.J.,Rijkswaterstaat Center for Water Management | Kraak M.H.S.,University of Amsterdam
Chemosphere | Year: 2010

Antibiotics may affect both primary producers and decomposers, potentially disrupting ecosystem processes. Hence, it is essential to assess the impact of antibiotics on aquatic ecosystems. The aim of the present study was therefore to evaluate the potential of a recently developed test for detecting antibiotics in animal tissue, the Nouws Antibiotic Test (NAT), as a sensitive bioassay to assess the effects of antibiotics in water. To this purpose, we determined the toxicity of sulphamethoxazole, trimethoprim, flumequine, tylosin, streptomycin, and oxytetracycline, using the NAT adapted for water exposure. The sensitivity of the NAT was compared to that of bioassays with bacteria (Microtox), cyanobacteria and green algae. In the Microtox test with Vibrio fischeri as test organism, no effects were observed for any of the test compounds. For three of the six antibiotics tested, the cyanobacteria were more vulnerable than the green algae when using photosynthetic efficiency as an endpoint. The lowest EC50 values for four out of six tested antibiotics were obtained using the NAT bacterial bioassay. The bacterial plate system responded to antibiotics at concentrations in the μgL-1 and lower mgL-1 range and, moreover, each plate proved to be specifically sensitive to the antibiotics group it was designed for. It is concluded that the NAT bioassay adapted for water exposure is a sensitive test to determine the presence of antibiotics in water. The ability of this test to distinguish five major antibiotic groups is a very strong additional value. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

van den Brandhof E.-J.,Laboratory for Ecological Risk Assessment | Montforts M.,Expertise Center for Substances
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety | Year: 2010

Frequently measured pharmaceuticals in environmental samples were tested in fish embryo toxicity (FET) tests with Danio rerio, based on the draft OECD test protocol. In this FET test 2-h-old zebrafish embryos were exposed for 72h to carbamazepine, diclofenac and metoprolol to observe effects on embryo mortality, gastrulation, somite formation, tail movement and detachment, pigmentation, heartbeat, malformation of head, otoliths and heart, scoliosis, deformity of yolk, and hatching success at 24, 48 and 72h. We found specific effects on growth retardation above 30.6mg/l for carbamazepine, on hatching, yolk sac and tail deformation above 1.5mg/l for diclofenac, and on scoliosis and growth retardation above 12.6mg/l for metoprolol. Scoring all effect parameters, the 72-h-EC50 values were: for carbamazepine 86.5mg/l, for diclofenac 5.3mg/l and for metoprolol 31.0mg/l (mean measured concentrations). In conclusion, our results for carbamazepine and metoprolol are in agreement with other findings for aquatic toxicity, and also fish embryos responded in much the same way as rat embryos did. For diclofenac, the FET test performs comparably to Early Life Stage testing. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

Moermond C.T.A.,Expertise Center for Substances | Janssen M.P.M.,Expertise Center for Substances | de Knecht J.A.,Expertise Center for Substances | Montforts H.M.M.,Expertise Center for Substances | And 3 more authors.
Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management | Year: 2012

There is no uniform Persistent, Bioaccumulative, Toxic (PBT) or very Persistent, very Bioaccumulative (vPvB) assessment of chemicals in Europe, as the various regulatory frameworks use only limited or dissimilar PBT assessments, or none at all. The European REACH Regulation requires a PBT/vPvB assessment for all chemical substances that are produced within or imported into the EU in amounts exceeding 10 tonnes per year, using the criteria as described in REACH Annex XIII. However, not all substances on the EU market need to be screened according to these criteria under REACH. For a number of substances, such as those imported or produced in lower volumes, there is no REACH requirement, and for human and veterinary medicinal products, biocides, plant protection products, and food and feed additives, other EU legislation is in force to regulate their marketing and use. Compounds may also be screened for PBT properties within international agreements, such as the Oslo Paris Convention (OSPAR), the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention, the UNECE POP Protocol, and the UNEP Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), which all have their own set of PBTor POP criteria. This study compares the PBT/vPvB assessment under REACH with PBT or POP assessments performed within other regulatory frameworks. Attention is paid to the process of PBT/vPvB/POP identification and which legislative steps can be taken if the PBT/vPvB/POP status is assigned. In addition to the different PBT or POP criteria of the various frameworks, descriptions of these criteria and approaches for application of weight of evidence also vary. Some EU frameworks still refer to the criteria in the former Technical Guidance Documents (TGD) of 2003, which preceded REACH. Although differences between the old TGD criteria and those in the REACH Annex XIII are small, this does cause dissimilarities among the frameworks. The risk management follow-up of a PBT or vPvB identification, which may include a socio economic analysis, also depends on the legal framework and the specific conditions under which a substance is used. Irrespective of the framework in which a substance is used, individual European MemberStates may propose a substance evaluation for PBTor vPvB identification under REACH. However, authorization is only possible for uses of PBTsubstances that are not covered by their regular framework but are registered under REACH. How socio-economic criteria should be weighed against PBT/vPvB properties and environmental risks in authorizing or restricting the use of PBT/vPvB substances is often not specified. Thus, although the goal of restricting or banning the use of PBT/vPvB substances is shared among all EU-based regulatory frameworks, there are many differences in how to achieve this goal. These differences create a challenge to harmonize the PBT/vPvB assessment of substances, not only regarding technical criteria, but also regarding regulatory follow-up. © 2011 SETAC.

Peijnenburg W.,Laboratory for Ecological Risk Assessment | Peijnenburg W.,Leiden University | Capri E.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Kula C.,Biologische Bundesanstalt Fr Land und Forstwirtschaft | And 7 more authors.
Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2012

Risk and hazard assessments for the soil environment are performed on the basis of the total content of a contaminant in the dry bulk soil. Presently, scientific evidence is emerging and indicating that pore water may be a more relevant exposure medium for uptake of chemicals by biota and plants in soil. To deduce the degree to which pore water concentrations are indeed a better metrics for quantifying uptake of organic chemicals by terrestrial biota (mostly invertebrates), a literature search was performed and the available evidence in favor of any metrics was gathered in the context of a mandate of the European Food Safety Authority. It is concluded that knowledge on uptake routes of contaminants by soil invertebrates is far from complete. Overall it is clear that uptake of organic contaminants depends on species, soil type, and the chemical properties. The mode of exposure of soil invertebrates is determined by the way animals are in contact with their local environment. Morphology, physiology, and behavior are important factors in this respect, as is the mode of uptake of food, water, and oxygen. The contribution of oral uptake may vary within a specific taxon but for soil organisms in close contact with the soil solution, pore water-mediated uptake is in general the dominant pathway and it is commonly modified by soil specific ageing and speciation, and by specific factors of the organisms, such as nutrition status. Residual uptake appears to be the most important uptake route following pore water-mediated uptake. It is likely that in this case, too, pore water is involved as carrier in or at the surface of the soil in which the chemicals are dissolved. Intraspecies (especially between different life stages) and interspecies variances (e.g., size and ecological preferences) will most likely modify the actual contribution of potential exposure pathways, and a distinction must be made between hard-bodied and soft-bodied organisms. Hard-bodied organisms rely for uptake of oxygen and water on specialized organs, whereas water (pore water) and oxygen are mainly taken up via the skin in soft-bodied organisms. Hard-bodied animals are nevertheless in contact with pore water, as shown for spiders, woodlice, and collembolans. Uptake of nutrients and chemicals is possible for all invertebrates via their food, and this may be an important route in case of food sources in which high concentrations of chemicals are present. The assimilation efficiency will however depend on species-specific properties of the digestive tract and no general conclusions are to be generated in this respect. © 2012 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Sahlin U.,Linnaeus University | Sahlin U.,Lund University | Golsteijn L.,Radboud University Nijmegen | Iqbal M.S.,Linnaeus University | And 2 more authors.
ATLA Alternatives to Laboratory Animals | Year: 2013

Chemical regulation allows non-in vivo testing (i.e. in silico-derived and in vitro-derived) information to replace experimental values from in vivo studies in hazard and risk assessments. Although non-in vitro testing information on chemical activities or properties is subject to added uncertainty as compared to in vivo testing information, this uncertainty is commonly not (fully) taken into account. Considering uncertainty in predictions from quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSARs), which are a form of non-in vivo testing information, may improve the way that QSARs support chemical safety assessment under the EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) system. We argue that it is useful to consider uncertainty in QSAR predictions, as it: a) supports rational decision-making; b) facilitates cautious risk management; c) informs uncertainty analysis in probabilistic risk assessment; d) may aid the evaluation of QSAR predictions in weight-of-evidence approaches; and e) provides a probabilistic model to verify the experimental data used in risk assessment. The discussion is illustrated by using case studies of QSAR integrated hazard and risk assessment from the EU-financed CADASTER project.

Smit E.,GMO Office | Bakker P.A.H.M.,University Utrecht | Bergmans H.,GMO Office | Bloem J.,Wageningen University | And 7 more authors.
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2012

The commercial cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops in the European Union (EU) necessitates, according to EU legislation, the setting up of a General Surveillance (GS) system that should be able to detect unanticipated effects of GM crops on the environment. Although the applicant is responsible for setting up GS as well as for reporting the results, EU Member States may implement additional supporting surveillance programmes. Devising a GS system to detect unanticipated effects is not straightforward and requires clearly defined protection goals, suitable indicators that are linked to measurable parameters and an objective system for assessing the data. This paper describes a number of recommendations for the development of a General Surveillance system of the soil ecosystem specifically focussed on the situation in the Netherlands. The overarching protection goal of General Surveillance is 'soil quality', which is translated into more practical terms of ecosystem services that are relevant for soil quality, and that can be used to select measurable parameters and thus make a link with actual measurements. Ultimately, if and when effects on ecosystem services are detected, decision makers will have to decide whether these effects are acceptable or not. As a support for these decision-making processes, this paper discusses the modalities for the development of a stakeholder participation model. The model involves three groups of persons: the land users, the soil scientists and the decision makers. For reasons of cost effectiveness, a GS system of the soil ecosystem will have to make use of existing networks. The Dutch Soil Quality Network (DSQN) offers an existing infrastructure for soil sampling for GS. Finally, the GS system may be extended to contain data from the Dutch Ecological Monitoring Network, earth observation systems as well as other data resources such as farmers questionnaires or reports form organisations involved in nature conservation. Ideally these data are compiled by a Central Reporting Office (CRO) and maintained in a Geographic Information System (GIS) based database. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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