Standard Article

Aquatic Toxicity Tests

Environmental Policy and Regulation

  1. John F. Fox1,
  2. Debra L. Denton2,
  3. Jerry Diamond3

Published Online: 15 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9780470057339.vaw010m.pub2

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

How to Cite

Fox, J. F., Denton, D. L. and Diamond, J. 2013. Aquatic Toxicity Tests . Encyclopedia of Environmetrics. 1.

Author Information

  1. 1

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, USA

  2. 2

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Sacramento, CA, USA

  3. 3

    Tetra Tech, Owings Mills, MD, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JAN 2013


Aquatic toxicity tests are used in a variety of regulatory and nonregulatory applications to characterize toxicity of known chemicals and environmental water samples, for effluent compliance testing, and to monitor the ambient environment (watersheds), using a variety of aquatic organisms and biological endpoints. This article covers statistical approaches routinely applied to such tests. Concentration-response models and point estimates (e.g., EC25) based on these models are used to characterize concentration-response relations for toxic chemicals using toxicity data, and also to characterize single effluent or ambient samples for watershed monitoring. Hypothesis tests can also be used to make yes-no decisions for compliance and watershed determinations. Test experimental designs and statistical methods have been standardized for regulatory use. New approaches or refinements published in the past 10 years are cited here; these can improve interpretation and application of aquatic toxicity tests.


  • aquatic toxicology;
  • ECp;
  • environmental toxicology;
  • ICp;
  • LC50;
  • LOEC;
  • NOEC;
  • whole effluent toxicity