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(622) Pitfalls and Practices of Probabilistic Ecological Risk Assessment of Pesticides.
Kent, David*,1,2, Lowenbach, William3, Foster, Gregory2, Jones, R. Christian2, Taylor, George2, 1 THE WEINBERG GROUP INC., Washington, DC, USA2 George Mason University, Fairfax, VA3 William Lowenbach Consulting, Chevy Chase, MD
ABSTRACT- Assessment of the ecological risk of pesticide use has evolved over the years from a mere offshoot of human health risk assessment to the focused environmental-specific emphasis of today. With this directed emphasis on environmental risk has come a rapidly developing toolbox of analysis techniques. Most recently the use of probabilistic methods has moved the assessment of ecological risk a giant step forward. Or has it? While the promise of probabilistic ecological risk assessment (PERA) for pesticides is seen as a means to more accurately assess risks, the road to implementation is strewn with many potholes (i.e., lack of data) and hurdles (i.e., lack of understanding). PERA is still very immature as a science; yet the USEPA and other regulatory bodies must make decisions before many of the technical issues in the modeling are resolved. Improper use of PERA in these early stages could lead to a permanent distrust of the results by non-experts. This paper discusses some of the potential pitfalls of PERA use and offers some solutions to regulators, practitioners, and pesticide registrants to maximize the effectiveness of PERA.
Key words: probabilistic, ecological risk assessment, pesticide, risk assessment
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