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Past water pollution regulatory actions have dealt largely with eliminating existing unacceptable conditions from surface waters. Since the beginning of this decade, increased attention has been focused on preventing such conditions from developing. The shift has changed the informational need from one of assessing field conditions to one of predicting effects before they occur. A concomitant increased need from bioassays as predictive tools has occurred. Furthermore, analytical methods have not been developed to measure biologically active forms, and often they are not sensitive enough to measure concentrations at this “no effect” level. In addition, the composition of wastes from today's industrial society are complex and variable and often contain many unidentified components. Therefore, aquatic bioassays are an essential tool for today's problems of aquatic environmental regulation.
water quality, aquatic biology, water pollution, environmental tests
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Environmental Research Laboratory-Duluth, Duluth, Minn.