The artificial soil tests of the European Economic Community and of the Organization for Economic Cooperation produce data relating earthworm mortality to pesticide concentrations in soil under laboratory conditions. To apply these results to agricultural soils it is necessary to relate these concentrations to amounts of pesticide applied per area. This paper reviews the relevant published literature and suggests a simple relation for regulatory use. Hazards to earthworms from pesticides are suggested to be greatest soon after application, when the pesticides may be concentrated in a soil layer a few millimeters thick. For estimating exposure of earthworms, however, a thicker soil layer should be considered, to account for their movement through soil. During favorable weather conditions, earthworms belonging to species appropriate to the artificial soil test have been reported to confine their activity to a layer about 5 cm. If a 5-cm layer is accepted as relevant for regulatory purposes, then an application of 1 kg/ha would be equivalent to 1-67 ppm (dry) in the artificial soil test.
Additional publication details
Relating results from earthworm toxicity tests to agricultural soil