Inclusion of trophic network variability in regulatory environmental risk assessment

Abstract : Ecosystems can be defined as complex networks implying trophic relationships between species but also as functions to maintain ecosystem equilibrium. The basic paradigm in REACH or Biocides regulations or in the Water framework Directive assumed that the protection of the most sensitive species protect the structure and thus the function of the ecosystem. As the concept of the most sensitive does not take into account bioaccumulation mechanisms, this has to be completed (for bioaccumulative substances only) by the study of the predator compartment, which is assumed to reach the maximum concentration. Classical method described in the ECHA guidelines targets an undefined bird or mammal as predator feeding from their usual prey: fishes and/or worms. This unspecific scenario can be perceived as very simple and the exposure of the top predator in complex ecosystem may insufficiently be captured in case of biomagnification of chemical substances. In the plant protection product area, the assessment is slightly different when considering the initial hypotheses since the risk is basically evaluated independently for each trophic levels, and the assessment of secondary poisoning is linked to the crop under consideration: including type and age of crops to identify specific targets: bird, small mammalian, of various trophic regimen. Yet, industrial chemical following sludge applications (from Sewage Treatment Plant) ends up the very same agricultural field receiving plant protection products. The present work includes a case study comparing the two assessment frameworks for a selection of substances with different bioaccumulation potential. Nevertheless, the approaches used in these regulations remain overall linked to a generic environment. They do not consider the surrounding habitats and the impact of anthropic activities on landscape modeling. In other contexts, such exposure tools that could be adapted to specific or local trophic networks are developed, including a selection of target species, its habitats and diet. These models such as Terrasys or BERISP have the option to supply information on the top predators or modify the presence of specific habitat and thus the trophic network. We propose to confront the classical non specific exposure assessment with a much more elaborated scenario, including human intervention and management measures on ecosystem exposition in a fictional case study involving terrestrial compartment.
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  • HAL Id : ineris-00971156, version 1
  • INERIS : EN-2013-129

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Nicolas Pucheux, Mireille Guiot, Sandrine Andres. Inclusion of trophic network variability in regulatory environmental risk assessment. 23. SETAC Europe annual meeting "Building a better future : Responsible innovation and environmental protection", May 2013, Glasgow, United Kingdom. ⟨ineris-00971156⟩

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