• Predicted environmental concentrations;
  • Probabilistic and/or stochastic modeling;
  • Risk assessment;
  • Risk potential profiles;
  • Species sensitivity distribution


This article presents a method of probabilistically computing species sensitivity distributions (SSD) that is well-suited to cope with distinct data scarcity and variability. First, a probability distribution that reflects the uncertainty and variability of sensitivity is modeled for each species considered. These single species sensitivity distributions are then combined to create an SSD for a particular ecosystem. A probabilistic estimation of the risk is carried out by combining the probability of critical environmental concentrations with the probability of organisms being impacted negatively by these concentrations. To evaluate the performance of the method, we developed SSD and risk calculations for the aquatic environment exposed to triclosan. The case studies showed that the probabilistic results reflect the empirical information well, and the method provides a valuable alternative or supplement to more traditional methods for calculating SSDs based on averaging raw data and/or on using theoretical distributional forms. A comparison and evaluation with single SSD values (5th-percentile [HC5]) revealed the robustness of the proposed method. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2013; 9: 79–86. © 2012 SETAC