HA9 Ecological Risk Assessment: General Perspectives and Case Studies
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM, Thursday

(739A) Rodent sperm analysis: a suitable alternative to, and replacement for the problem-plagued hazard quotient.

Tannenbaum, L1, 1 U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, USA

ABSTRACT- Although the limitations of ecological risk assessment's (ERA) Hazard Quotient (HQ) method have been published numerous times in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, it is common risk assessment practice to either remain uninformed of the limitations, or deliberately elect to ignore them. Ecological risk assessors should be able to easily identify five common limitations, but unfortunately some cannot. A sixth limitation, not articulated to date in the open literature, may shock risk assessors into seeing that they are continually pursuing the wrong statistic: HQs are not linked to a temporal scheme. When a receptor has a HQ above 1.0, the interpretation may be ′potential for risk′, but this raises a complication. The interpretation is true of a site with 5-year old contamination just as it is for a site with 5,000-year old contamination! It follows that where HQs are used, there will almost never be a time when a risk assessment won′t conclude that there is a budding environmental problem. Given the historical nature of the contamination we routinely encounter at sites, it should be evident that sufficient time has elapsed to have evoked toxicological impacts. Consideration should be given then to dispensing with HQs altogether and instead directly assessing impacts, should they be present. The Army′s Rodent Sperm Analysis (RSA) method (patent pending) is the most forward-looking endeavor in terrestrial ERA to date, and seemingly a most suitable alternative to the problem-plagued HQ approach. At a time when the field is deeply entrenched in a ′modeling-is-the-only-way-to assess′ mode, RSA is a method (and the only one of its kind) that directly assesses the receptor′s health status. RSA′s strength lies in the biological measures it tracks, for which it is known rather precisely, how much of a difference there needs to be in a field measure in order to confer a determination of impact.

Key words: rodent sperm analysis, hazard quotient, impact

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