A probabilistic model for deriving soil quality criteria based on secondary poisoning of top predators I: Model description and uncertainty analysis

T.P. Traas*, R. Luttik, R.H. Jongbloed

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In previous studies, the risk of toxicant accumulation in food chains was used to calculate quality criteria for surface water and soil. A simple algorithm was used to calculate maximum permissable concentrations [MPC = no- observed-effect concentration/bioconcentration factor(NOEC/BCF)]. These studies were limited to simple food chains. This study presents a method to calculate MPCs for more complex food webs of predators. The previous method is expanded. First, toxicity data (NOECs) for several compounds were corrected for differences between laboratory animals and animals in the wild. Second, for each compound, it was assumed these NOECs were a sample of a log- logistic distribution of mammalian and avian NOECs. Third, bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) for major food items of predators were collected and were assumed to derive from different log-logistic distributions of BAFs. Fourth, MPCs for each compound were calculated using Monte Carlo sampling from NOEC and BAF distributions. An uncertainty analysis for cadmium was performed to identify the most uncertain parameters of the model. Model analysis indicated that most of the prediction uncertainty of the model can be ascribed to uncertainty of species sensitivity as expressed by NOECs. A very small proportion of model uncertainty is contributed by BAFs from food webs. Correction factors for the conversion of NOECs from laboratory conditions to the field have some influence on the final value of MPC5, but the total prediction uncertainty of the MPC is quite large. It is concluded that the uncertainty in species sensitivity is quite large. To avoid unethical toxicity testing with mammalian or avian predators, it cannot be avoided to use this uncertainty in the method proposed to calculate MPC distributions. The fifth percentile of the MPC is suggested as a safe value for top predators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-278
Number of pages15
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Volume34
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1996
Externally publishedYes

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