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    Indicator Bird Species for Toxicity Determinations: Is the Technique Usable in Test Method Development?


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    Pesticide, food, drug, and cosmetic industries have used indicator animal species for many years to provide data on the relative hazards of synthetic or natural chemical products to applicators or users. A considerable amount of toxicological information is available on the relative susceptibility of different mammal species to various chemicals. This information has been used to predict hazards to other mammals, including man. Indicator species often are used for evaluating the efficacy of chemicals or their hazards to wild birds. However, the available toxicological information is generally not sufficient to extrapolate valid relationships between the indicator species and the target species.

    In this paper we have presented the state of the art for the use of indicator bird species and have expressed our opinion on the use of these data. Because many current uses for bird indicator species are not well supported by available data, we recommend that further test method development with avian indicator species be terminated until additional data can be gathered on the relevancy of the technique.


    vertebrate pest control, acute toxicity, birds, chemicals, hazard evaluation, pesticides, review, subacute toxicity, test methods, toxicology

    Author Information:

    Schafer, EW
    Leader, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Denver, Colo

    Brunton, RB
    Biological laboratory technician, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Denver, Colo

    Committee/Subcommittee: E35.17

    DOI: 10.1520/STP34970S