Toxicological Benchmarks for Wildlife

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Ecological risks of environmental contaminants are evaluated by using a two-tiered process. In the first tier, a screening assessment is performed where concentrations of contaminants in the environment are compared to no observed adverse effects level (NOAEL)-based toxicological benchmarks. These benchmarks represent concentrations of chemicals (i.e., concentrations presumed to be nonhazardous to the biota) in environmental media (water, sediment, soil, food, etc.). While exceedance of these benchmarks does not indicate any particular level or type of risk, concentrations below the benchmarks should not result in significant effects. In practice, when contaminant concentrations in food or water resources are less than ... continued below

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217 pages

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Sample, B.E. Opresko, D.M. Suter, G.W. January 1, 1993.

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Description

Ecological risks of environmental contaminants are evaluated by using a two-tiered process. In the first tier, a screening assessment is performed where concentrations of contaminants in the environment are compared to no observed adverse effects level (NOAEL)-based toxicological benchmarks. These benchmarks represent concentrations of chemicals (i.e., concentrations presumed to be nonhazardous to the biota) in environmental media (water, sediment, soil, food, etc.). While exceedance of these benchmarks does not indicate any particular level or type of risk, concentrations below the benchmarks should not result in significant effects. In practice, when contaminant concentrations in food or water resources are less than these toxicological benchmarks, the contaminants may be excluded from further consideration. However, if the concentration of a contaminant exceeds a benchmark, that contaminant should be retained as a contaminant of potential concern (COPC) and investigated further. The second tier in ecological risk assessment, the baseline ecological risk assessment, may use toxicological benchmarks as part of a weight-of-evidence approach (Suter 1993). Under this approach, based toxicological benchmarks are one of several lines of evidence used to support or refute the presence of ecological effects. Other sources of evidence include media toxicity tests, surveys of biota (abundance and diversity), measures of contaminant body burdens, and biomarkers. This report presents NOAEL- and lowest observed adverse effects level (LOAEL)-based toxicological benchmarks for assessment of effects of 85 chemicals on 9 representative mammalian wildlife species (short-tailed shrew, little brown bat, meadow vole, white-footed mouse, cottontail rabbit, mink, red fox, and whitetail deer) or 11 avian wildlife species (American robin, rough-winged swallow, American woodcock, wild turkey, belted kingfisher, great blue heron, barred owl, barn owl, Cooper's hawk, and red-tailed hawk, osprey) (scientific names for both the mammalian and avian species are presented in Appendix B). [In this document, NOAEL refers to both dose (mg contaminant per kg animal body weight per day) and concentration (mg contaminant per kg of food or L of drinking water)]. The 20 wildlife species were chosen because they are widely distributed and provide a representative range of body sizes and diets. The chemicals are some of those that occur at U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) waste sites. The NOAEL-based benchmarks presented in this report represent values believed to be nonhazardous for the listed wildlife species; LOAEL-based benchmarks represent threshold levels at which adverse effects are likely to become evident. These benchmarks consider contaminant exposure through oral ingestion of contaminated media only. Exposure through inhalation and/or direct dermal exposure are not considered in this report.

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217 pages

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  • Other Information: PBD: 1 Jan 1993

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  • Report No.: ES/ER/TM-86
  • Grant Number: AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/814353 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 814353
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc734991

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  • January 1, 1993

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Oct. 18, 2015, 6:40 p.m.

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  • Jan. 4, 2017, 1:55 p.m.

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Sample, B.E. Opresko, D.M. Suter, G.W. Toxicological Benchmarks for Wildlife, report, January 1, 1993; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc734991/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.