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  • Risk Assessment
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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 05 May 2015, Vol.112(18), pp.5750-5
    Description: Compared with nutrient levels and habitat degradation, the importance of agricultural pesticides in surface water may have been underestimated due to a lack of comprehensive quantitative analysis. Increasing pesticide contamination results in decreasing regional aquatic biodiversity, i.e., macroinvertebrate family richness is reduced by ∼30% at pesticide concentrations equaling the legally accepted regulatory threshold levels (RTLs). This study provides a comprehensive metaanalysis of 838 peer-reviewed studies (〉2,500 sites in 73 countries) that evaluates, for the first time to our knowledge on a global scale, the exposure of surface waters to particularly toxic agricultural insecticides. We tested whether measured insecticide concentrations (MICs; i.e., quantified insecticide concentrations) exceed their RTLs and how risks depend on insecticide development over time and stringency of environmental regulation. Our analysis reveals that MICs occur rarely (i.e., an estimated 97.4% of analyses conducted found no MICs) and there is a complete lack of scientific monitoring data for ∼90% of global cropland. Most importantly, of the 11,300 MICs, 52.4% (5,915 cases; 68.5% of the sites) exceeded the RTL for either surface water (RTLSW) or sediments. Thus, the biological integrity of global water resources is at a substantial risk. RTLSW exceedances depend on the catchment size, sampling regime, and sampling date; are significantly higher for newer-generation insecticides (i.e., pyrethroids); and are high even in countries with stringent environmental regulations. These results suggest the need for worldwide improvements to current pesticide regulations and agricultural pesticide application practices and for intensified research efforts on the presence and effects of pesticides under real-world conditions.
    Keywords: Agriculture ; Biodiversity ; Global Surface Waters ; Insecticide Contamination ; Regulatory Risk Assessment ; Environmental Monitoring -- Methods ; Insecticides -- Analysis ; Water Pollutants, Chemical -- Analysis
    ISSN: 00278424
    E-ISSN: 1091-6490
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Science of the Total Environment, 01 September 2018, Vol.635, pp.687-698
    Description: The aquatic environment is strongly connected to the surrounding agricultural landscapes, which regularly serve as sources of stressors such as agrochemicals. Genetically modified crops, which are cultivated on a large scale in many countries, may also act as stressors. Despite the commercial use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for over 20 years, their impact on the aquatic environment came into focus only 10 years ago. We present the status quo of the available scientific data in order to provide an input for informed aquatic risk assessment of GMOs. We could identify only 39 publications, including 84 studies, dealing with GMOs in the aquatic environment, and our analysis shows substantial knowledge gaps. The available information is restricted to a small number of crop plants, traits, events, and test organisms. The analysis of effect studies reveals that only a narrow range of organisms has been tested and that studies on combinatorial actions of stressors are virtually absent. The analysis of fate studies shows that many aspects, such as the fate of leached toxins, degradation of plant material, and distribution of crop residues in the aquatic habitat, are insufficiently investigated. Together with these research needs, we identify standardization of test methods as an issue of high priority, both for research and risk assessment needed for GMO regulation.
    Keywords: Genetically Modified Crops ; Aquatic Ecosystems ; Environmental Risk Assessment ; Non-Target Effects ; Bt Toxin ; Environmental Sciences ; Biology ; Public Health
    ISSN: 0048-9697
    E-ISSN: 1879-1026
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: 2012, Vol.7(11), p.e48956
    Description: The nanoparticle industry is expected to become a trillion dollar business in the near future. Therefore, the unintentional introduction of nanoparticles into the environment is increasingly likely. However, currently applied risk-assessment practices require further adaptation to accommodate the intrinsic nature of engineered nanoparticles. Combining a chronic flow-through exposure system with subsequent acute toxicity tests for the standard test organism Daphnia magna , we found that juvenile offspring of adults that were previously exposed to titanium dioxide nanoparticles exhibit a significantly increased sensitivity to titanium dioxide nanoparticles compared with the offspring of unexposed adults, as displayed by lower 96 h-EC 50 values. This observation is particularly remarkable because adults exhibited no differences among treatments in terms of typically assessed endpoints, such as sensitivity, number of offspring, or energy reserves. Hence, the present study suggests that ecotoxicological research requires further development to include the assessment of the environmental risks of nanoparticles for the next and hence not directly exposed generation, which is currently not included in standard test protocols.
    Keywords: Research Article ; Agriculture ; Biology ; Materials Science ; Biotechnology ; Neuroscience
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: Science of the Total Environment, 01 March 2016, Vol.545-546, pp.171-183
    Description: Regulatory risk assessment considers vegetated buffer strips as effective risk mitigation measures for the reduction of runoff-related pesticide exposure of surface waters. However, apart from buffer strip widths, further characteristics such as vegetation density or the presence of erosion rills are generally neglected in the determination of buffer strip mitigation efficacies. This study conducted a field survey of fruit orchards (average slope 3.1–12.2%) of the Lourens River catchment, South Africa, which specifically focused on the characteristics and attributes of buffer strips separating orchard areas from tributary streams. In addition, in-stream and erosion rill water samples were collected during three runoff events and GIS-based modeling was employed to predict losses of pesticides associated with runoff. The results show that erosion rills are common in buffer strips (on average 13 to 24 m wide) of the tributaries (up to 6.5 erosion rills per km flow length) and that erosion rills represent concentrated entry pathways of pesticide runoff into the tributaries during rainfall events. Exposure modeling shows that measured pesticide surface water concentrations correlated significantly (R = 0.626; p 〈 0.001) with runoff losses predicted by the modeling approach in which buffer strip width was set to zero at sites with erosion rills; in contrast, no relationship between predicted runoff losses and in-stream pesticide concentrations were detected in the modeling approach that neglected erosion rills and thus assumed efficient buffer strips. Overall, the results of our study show that erosion rills may substantially reduce buffer strip pesticide retention efficacies during runoff events and suggest that the capability of buffer strips as a risk mitigation tool for runoff is largely overestimated in current regulatory risk assessment procedures conducted for pesticide authorization.
    Keywords: Risk Assessment ; Runoff ; Monitoring ; Exposure Modeling ; Field Survey ; South Africa ; Environmental Sciences ; Biology ; Public Health
    ISSN: 0048-9697
    E-ISSN: 1879-1026
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  • 5
    Language: English
    In: Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 15 February 2016, Vol.218, pp.33-39
    Description: Veterinary pharmaceuticals (VPs) are routinely used in livestock breeding. As a consequence, high concentrations of such VPs can be found in liquid manure, which is often applied to arable crops and grassland. From the soil, the VPs may enter surface water bodies via edge-of-field runoff, representing a potential risk to aquatic ecosystems. In the present study, the worst-case runoff predictions obtained by the FOCUS step 3 modeling approach, which is recommended for environmental-risk assessment of VPs in Europe, were compared with fate data obtained from experimental plot studies involving both arable and grassland plots. Five VPs were selected comprising three sulfonamides (sulfadiazine, sulfadimidine, sulfamethoxazole) and two benzimidazoles (flubendazole, fenbendazole). The respective concentrations in runoff were initially estimated using literature data for model parameterization. Subsequently, the scenarios were parameterized specifically for each experimental plot study performed, enabling a direct comparison of the model performance with the close-to-field relevant situation. Generally, substantial variations between the predicted and measured concentrations of VPs in the runoff were uncovered. Although the FOCUS prediction suggested higher concentrations than were actually measured in 65% of the cases, the runoff concentrations of VPs were underestimated in the remaining 35%. This frequent underestimation of runoff concentrations was primarily observed for the grassland plots (85% of the underestimated situations), whereas the FOCUS predictions largely overestimated the measured concentrations for the arable plots. More strikingly, when involving a difference between the measured and predicted concentrations of 10% as a validity criterion for the model, only one (out of a total of 17) runoff concentration among the five VPs (i.e., sulfadimidine) assessed in the seven scenarios fell within this tolerance margin. Thus, these results demonstrate the substantial uncertainties related to the use of the FOCUS surface water modeling approach for the prediction of VPs introduced with manure and their environmental risk.
    Keywords: Veterinary Pharmaceuticals ; Focus Model ; Sulfonamide Antibiotics ; Benzimidazole Anthelmintics ; Exposure Modeling ; Agriculture ; Environmental Sciences
    ISSN: 0167-8809
    E-ISSN: 1873-2305
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  • 6
    In: Freshwater Biology, December 2016, Vol.61(12), pp.2185-2196
    Description: Ecotoxicology is often criticised for its simplistic approach, which does not normally consider the complexity of field conditions. Simple laboratory experiments can still be useful, however, especially for assessing effects of emerging stressors such as nanoparticles, which exhibit fates, exposure profiles and modes of action substantially different from those of traditional chemicals. Here we argue that it is important to understand the potential effects of environmental conditions (e.g. UV radiation, dissolved organic matter, chemical stressors) on the fate and ecotoxicological potential of nanoparticles by using simple and well‐controlled experiments, while aiming to mimic realistic environmental conditions as closely as possible. The observation that increasingly complex test systems may yield lower effect thresholds for nanoparticles than standardised tests suggests that current approaches require modification. Specifically, research is encouraged on interactions among trophic levels, community composition and ecosystem and evolutionary processes, so that effects observed in complex environmental settings can be explained mechanistically. We highlight recent discoveries in ecotoxicology and ecology that suggest nanoparticle‐induced consequences on evolutionary and ecosystem processes as well as their potential transfer across ecosystem boundaries. These insights may encourage further research on nanoparticle effects informed by ecological theory.
    Keywords: Environmental Variables ; Mechanism Of Toxicity ; Mixture Toxicity ; Nanomaterial ; Trophic Interaction
    ISSN: 0046-5070
    E-ISSN: 1365-2427
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  • 7
    Language: English
    In: PLoS ONE, 2011, Vol.6(5), p.e20112
    Description: The production and use of nanoparticles (NP) has steadily increased within the last decade; however, knowledge about risks of NP to human health and ecosystems is still scarce. Common knowledge concerning NP effects on freshwater organisms is largely limited to standard short-term (≤48 h) toxicity tests, which lack both NP fate characterization and an understanding of the mechanisms underlying toxicity. Employing slightly longer exposure times (72 to 96 h), we found that suspensions of nanosized (∼100 nm initial mean diameter) titanium dioxide (nTiO 2 ) led to toxicity in Daphnia magna at nominal concentrations of 3.8 (72-h EC 50 ) and 0.73 mg/L (96-h EC 50 ). However, nTiO 2 disappeared quickly from the ISO-medium water phase, resulting in toxicity levels as low as 0.24 mg/L (96-h EC 50 ) based on measured concentrations. Moreover, we showed that nTiO 2 (∼100 nm) is significantly more toxic than non-nanosized TiO 2 (∼200 nm) prepared from the same stock suspension. Most importantly, we hypothesized a mechanistic chain of events for nTiO 2 toxicity in D. magna that involves the coating of the organism surface with nTiO 2 combined with a molting disruption. Neonate D. magna (≤6 h) exposed to 2 mg/L nTiO 2 exhibited a “biological surface coating” that disappeared within 36 h, during which the first molting was successfully managed by 100% of the exposed organisms. Continued exposure up to 96 h led to a renewed formation of the surface coating and significantly reduced the molting rate to 10%, resulting in 90% mortality. Because coating of aquatic organisms by manmade NP might be ubiquitous in nature, this form of physical NP toxicity might result in widespread negative impacts on environmental health.
    Keywords: Research Article ; Biology ; Chemistry ; Earth Sciences ; Materials Science ; Medicine ; Chemistry ; Public Health And Epidemiology ; Marine And Aquatic Sciences ; Ecology ; Critical Care And Emergency Medicine ; Science Policy ; Biochemistry ; Non-clinical Medicine
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 8
    Language: English
    In: Environmental Pollution, January 2015, Vol.196, pp.276-283
    Description: Interactions with environmental parameters may alter the ecotoxicity of nanoparticles. The present study therefore assessed the (in)direct effects of nanoparticulate titanium dioxide (nano-TiO ) towards , considering nano-TiO 's photocatalytic properties at ambient UV-intensities. Gammarids' habitat selection was investigated using its feeding preference on leaf discs either exposed to or protected from UV-irradiation in presence of nano-TiO as proxy (  = 49). UV-irradiation alone induced a significant preference for UV-protected habitats, which was more pronounced in simultaneous presence of nano-TiO . This behaviour may be mainly explained by the UV-induced formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by nano-TiO . Besides their direct toxicity, ROS may have lowered the leaf-quality in UV-exposed areas contributing (approximately 30%) to the observed behavioural pattern. Since the predicted no effect concentration of nano-TiO in combination with UV-irradiation falls below the predicted environmental concentration this study underpins the importance of considering environmental parameters during the risk assessment of nanoparticles. Results revealed for the first time a PNEC of nano-TiO falling below the PEC indicating a substantial risk for aquatic ecosystems already nowadays.
    Keywords: Gammarus ; Uv-Irradiation ; Interaction Effect ; Reactive Oxygen Species ; Behavioural Response ; Engineering ; Environmental Sciences ; Anatomy & Physiology
    ISSN: 0269-7491
    E-ISSN: 1873-6424
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  • 9
    In: Journal of Applied Ecology, April 2015, Vol.52(2), pp.310-322
    Description: The application of fungicides is considered an indispensable measure to secure crop production. These substances, however, may unintentionally enter surface waters via run‐off, potentially affecting the microbial community. To assess such risks adequately, authorities recently called for suitable test designs involving relevant aquatic micro‐organisms. We assessed the structural and functional responses of leaf‐associated microbial communities, which play a key role in the breakdown of allochthonous leaf material in streams, towards the inorganic fungicides copper (Cu) and elemental sulphur (S). These substances are of particular interest as they are authorized for both conventional and organic farming in many countries of the world. We used the food choice of the amphipod shredder Gammarus fossarum (indicative for micro‐organism‐mediated leaf palatability) as well as microbial leaf decomposition as functional endpoints. Moreover, the leaf‐associated microbial communities were characterized by means of bacterial density, fungal biomass and community composition facilitating mechanistic understanding of the observed functional effects. While Gammarus preferred Cu‐exposed leaves over unexposed ones, microbial leaf decomposition was reduced by both Cu and S (up to 30%). Furthermore, Cu exposure decreased bacterial densities (up to 60%), stimulated the growth of leaf‐associated fungi (up to 100%) and altered fungal community composition, while S did not affect any of the assessed structural endpoints. Synthesis and applications. We observed both structural and functional changes in leaf‐associated microbial communities at inorganic fungicide concentrations realistic for surface water bodies influenced by conventional and organic farming. Our data hence justify a careful re‐evaluation of the environmental safety of the agricultural use of these compounds. Moreover, inclusion of an experimental design similar to the one used in this study in lower tier environmental risk assessments of antimicrobial compounds may aid to safeguard the integrity of aquatic microbial communities and the functions they provide. We observed both structural and functional changes in leaf‐associated microbial communities at inorganic fungicide concentrations realistic for surface water bodies influenced by conventional and organic farming. Our data hence justify a careful re‐evaluation of the environmental safety of the agricultural use of these compounds. Moreover, inclusion of an experimental design similar to the one used in this study in lower tier environmental risk assessments of antimicrobial compounds may aid to safeguard the integrity of aquatic microbial communities and the functions they provide.
    Keywords: Antagonistic Effect ; Antimicrobial ; Aquatic Hyphomycetes ; Bacteria ; Biofilm ; Ecosystem Functioning ; Environmental Risk Assessment ; Heavy Metal ; Leaf Litter Breakdown ; Mixture Toxicity
    ISSN: 0021-8901
    E-ISSN: 1365-2664
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  • 10
    Language: English
    In: Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, October 2011, Vol.7(4), pp.612-623
    Description: The quantification of risk (the likelihood and extent of adverse effects) is a prerequisite in regulatory decision making for plant protection products and is the goal of the Xplicit project. In its present development stage, realism is increased in the exposure assessment (EA), first by using real‐world data on, e.g., landscape factors affecting exposure, and second, by taking the variability of key factors into account. Spatial and temporal variability is explicitly addressed. Scale dependencies are taken into account, which allows for risk quantification at different scales, for example, at landscape scale, an overall picture of the potential exposure of nontarget organisms can be derived (e.g., for all off‐crop habitats in a given landscape); at local scale, exposure might be relevant to assess recovery and recolonization potential; intermediate scales might best refer to population level and hence might be relevant for risk management decisions (e.g., individual off‐crop habitats). The Xplicit approach is designed to comply with a central paradigm of probabilistic approaches, namely, that each individual case that is derived from the variability functions employed should represent a potential real‐world case. This is mainly achieved by operating in a spatiotemporally explicit fashion. Landscape factors affecting the local exposure of habitats of nontarget species (i.e., receptors) are derived from geodatabases. Variability in time is resolved by operating at discrete time steps, with the probability of events (e.g., application) or conditions (e.g., wind conditions) defined in probability density functions (PDFs). The propagation of variability of parameters into variability of exposure and risk is done using a Monte Carlo approach. Among the outcomes are expectancy values on the realistic worst‐case exposure (predicted environmental concentration [PEC]), the probability that the PEC exceeds the ecologically acceptable concentration (EAC) for a given fraction of habitats, and risk curves. The outcome can be calculated at any ecologically meaningful organization level of receptors. An example application of Xplicit is shown for a hypothetical risk assessment for nontarget arthropods (NTAs), demonstrating how the risk quantification can be improved compared with the standard deterministic approach. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2011;7:612–623. © 2011 SETAC
    Keywords: Probabilistic Risk Assessment ; Plant Protection Products ; Spray Drift ; Monte Carlo ; Landscape Level
    ISSN: 1551-3777
    E-ISSN: 1551-3793
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