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(IP02) The Hidden Role of Risk Management in the Development of Sediment Quality Guidelines.
Rothrock, Julie*,1, Anderson, Paul1, 1 AMEC Earth and Environmental, Westford, MA, USA
ABSTRACT- Sediment quality guidelines (SQGs) are chemical concentrations in sediments that are assumed to not be associated with adverse effects in aquatic organisms. They have been proposed and published for numerous chemicals using various methodologies over the past few decades, and their use has inspired considerable debate within the scientific community. One commonly applied methodology for developing SQGs is the compilation and combination of various databases containing sediment chemistry measurements and co-located effects in aquatic organisms (i.e., Effects Range-Low [ER-L] and Effects Range-Medium [ER-M] values used in the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Status and Trends Program). This methodology has been adapted recently to derive "consensus-based" SQGs (such as threshold and probable effect concentrations [TECs and PECs]) by compiling and combining previously derived SQGs. The derivation of such SQGs incorporates numerous hidden risk management decisions including the selection of which SQGs to use in the calculation of "consensus-based" SQGs, the choice of method used to determine central tendency, and the interpretation of toxicity test results (such as evaluating multiple species, multiple endpoints, and control versus reference locations). As a result, rather than providing the means for an objective evaluation of sediments, these SQGs incorporate a great deal of hidden subjectivity. The implications of using such SQGs in ecological risk assessments of aquatic systems are discussed.
Key words: sediment, guidelines, management, risk assessment
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