Development of a framework to derive effect-based trigger values to interpret CALUX data for drinking water quality

Frederic Been*, Tessa Pronk, Jochem Louisse, Corine Houtman, Tineke van der Velden-Slootweg, Ron van der Oost, Milou M.L. Dingemans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Bioassays are increasingly being implemented for water quality monitoring as targeted chemical analyses are not always sufficient for the detection of all emerging chemicals or transformation products. However, the interpretation of bioassay results remains challenging, in particular because a positive response does not necessarily indicate that there may be an increased risk. For this purpose, effect-based trigger (EBT) values have been introduced as thresholds above which action needs to be undertaken to determine the cause of the response. The goals of this study were to (i) evaluate various approaches used to determine EBT values and (ii) based on the findings, derive human health EBT values for Chemical Activated LUciferase gene eXpression (CALUX) in vitro bioassays used for routine monitoring of water quality in the Netherlands. Finally, (iii) an uncertainty analysis was carried out to determine the protective power of the derived EBT values and the chance that potentially harmful substances might not be detected. EBT values that can be implemented in routine monitoring could be determined for four of eight selected bioassays. These EBT were compared to bioassay results from routine water quality monitoring carried out in the Netherlands. Furthermore, a framework for the calculation and evaluation of derived EBT values for routine application to monitor drinking water and its sources is proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116859
JournalWater Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021


  • bioassay
  • drinking water
  • Effect-based trigger values
  • monitoring
  • uncertainty

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