Toxicity Studies Toxicity Tests
Uncertainty Factors Future Needs



The major questions in aquatic toxicology are:

(i) what combination of factors will minimize uncertainty of aquatic toxicity, and
(ii) what additional studies should be done to validate that estimate of uncertainty.

"No instrument has been devised that will measure toxicity!"

instruments measure the concentrations of a toxicant.
living material measures toxicity.

predict toxicity from measurements of both

initial toxicity studies for human health used surrogate species

toxicity studies in aquatic environments

simple toxicity tests are still valuable

factors affecting uncertainty

(1) time span
(2) uncertainty
(3) replicate conditions
(4) test organisms
(5) microcosms & mesocosms
(6) bioaccumulation

future needs in aquatic toxicology

"For the past century, our philosophy has been that it is better to put waste anywhere (in air,
soil, groundwater) than into surface water such as streams and lakes. Although not openly
stated, our decisions bear out our policy. In view of the other emerging problems, that policy
must change, and, with it, aquatic toxicology."

Cairns, J. and D.I. Mount. 1990. Aquatic toxicology. Environmental Science and Technology 24: 154-161.



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