In the present study an integrated ecological risk assessment based on multiple lines of evidence (LOEs) was evaluated in order to better assess the risk from TBT in Dutch harbours and open coastal waters. On the basis of spatial distributions of measured tributyltin (TBT) concentrations in sediments and suspended matter, predictions of the intersex index (ISI) in Littorina littorea and the ecological risk expressed as the Potentially Affected Fraction (PAF) of species were made. The results were compared to actual ISI measurements and presence of L. littorea in the field. The PAF calculated on the basis of TBT levels for open coastal waters ranged from 4.2% to 15.3%; for harbours it ranged from 3.5% to 26.9%. Significant intersex levels were observed only in waters where the risk was calculated above 10% PAF. This study suggests that the absence of L. littorea from some harbours with high ecological risk values can be explained by high TBT concentrations. A call is made for the use of integrated approaches like weight-of-evidence (WOE) to help practitioners improve ecological risk assessment.
- species-sensitivity distributions
- scheldt estuary