Extrapolation factors for characterizing freshwater ecotoxicity effects

Nicolo Aurisano, Paola Federica Albizzati, Michael Zwicky Hauschild, Peter Fantke*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Various environmental and chemical assessment frameworks including ecological risk assessment and life cycle impact assessment aim at evaluating long-term ecotoxicity effects. Chronic test data are reported under the European REACH regulation for several chemicals. However, chronic data are missing for a large fraction of marketed chemicals, for which acute test results are often available. Utilizing acute data requires robust extrapolation factors across effect endpoints, exposure durations and species groups. We propose a decision tree based on strict criteria for curating and selecting high quality aquatic ecotoxicity information available in REACH for organic chemicals, to derive a consistent set of generic and species group-specific extrapolation factors. Where ecotoxicity effect data are not available at all, we alternatively provide extrapolations from octanol-water partitioning coefficient as predictor for chemicals with non-polar narcosis as mode of action. Extrapolation factors range from 0.2 to 7 and are higher when simultaneously extrapolating across both effect endpoints and exposure durations. Our results are consistent with previously reported values, while considering more endpoints, providing species-group specific factors, and characterizing uncertainty. Our proposed decision tree can be adapted to curate information from additional data sources as well as data for other environments, such as sediment ecotoxicity. Our approach and robust extrapolation factors help to increase the substance coverage for characterizing ecotoxicity effects across chemical and environmental assessment frameworks. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)2568-2582
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Effect factor
  • characterization modelling
  • chemicals
  • ecotoxicological effects
  • life cycle impact assessment


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