Environmental effects from chemical release depend on factors which include the routes and rates of release, the modes of dissemination and degradation, and toxicities to local organisms. Data used for ecosystem risk characterization varies in quality and quantity, making it difficult to detemine the relative ecohazards of compounds. The problem addressed in this paper is: "Given particular chemicals, use scenarios and natural communities, how can the toxicological effects of future chemical use be projected using available data?" A method which uses available qualitative and quantitative data on physical and chemical properties, toxicity, and usage was devised to rank the ecological hazard of compounds. The ecohazard of a compound is determined using a decision key and a risk rank matrix which can initially use qualitative data. We regard the risk matrix as an algorithm for quantitatively expressing ecosystem risk. The risk characterization is refined by incorporating quantitative data in successive iterations through the process. The method was used to rank the anticipated ecosystem risk for over 40 chemicals used in military training.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis