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Keywords:

  • Ecological risk assessment;
  • Organism-level versus population-level assessments;
  • Probabilistic analysis

Abstract

Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency examined its current risk-assessment principles and practices. As part of the examination, aspects of ecological risk-assessment practices were reviewed. Several issues related to ecological risk assessment were identified, including the use of organism-level versus population-level attributes to characterize risk, the possible opportunities associated with the increased use of probabilistic approaches for ecological risk assessment, and the notion of conservatism in estimating risks. The agency examination provides an understanding of current practices and is intended to begin a dialogue in which the risk assessment community can engage in addressing the identified issues to improve and enhance ecological risk assessment.