Volume 6, Issue 2 (March 1978)
Field and Laboratory Protocols for Evaluating the Effects of Chemical Substances on Aquatic Life
One of the difficulties of evaluating the hazard associated with the release of a chemical substance into the environment is to determine how much testing is necessary to delimit its effects adequately. Since different classes of toxicants have different biological effects, it would be wasteful of both time and money to carry out extremely detailed and comprehensive tests for even the most innocuous materials. It would be equally inappropriate to carry out limited tests for very dangerous materials—as painful experience has already shown. Protocols to sort out which materials require extensive testing and which do not, as well as which decision criteria should be used at each stage in a test series, are essential to the establishment of reasonable water quality standards. This is true not only for laboratory studies but also for assessments of effects in the receiving system itself. Two illustrative protocols, one for the laboratory studies of aquatic organisms and the other for field studies in freshwater receiving systems, are described.