When performing screening-level and baseline risk assessments, assessors usually compare estimated exposures of wildlife receptor species with toxicity reference values (TRVs). We modeled the exposure of American robins (Turdus migratorius) to 10 elements (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Mn, Pb, Se, Zn, and V) in spring and early summer, a time when earthworms are the preferred prey. We calculated soil benchmarks associated with possible toxic effects to these robins from 6 sets of published TRVs. Several of the resulting soil screening-level benchmarks were inconsistent with each other and less than soil background concentrations. Accordingly, we examined the derivations of the TRVs as a possible source of error. In the case of V, a particularly toxic chemical compound (ammonium vanadate) containing V, not normally present in soil, had been used to estimate a TRV. In the cases of Zn and Cu, use of uncertainty values of 10 in estimating TRVs led to implausibly low soil screening values. In the case of Pb, a TRV was calculated from studies demonstrating reductions in egg production in Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica) exposed to Pb concentrations well below than those causing toxic effects in other species of birds. The results on quail, which were replicated in additional trials, are probably not applicable to other, unrelated species, although we acknowledge that only a small fraction of all species of birds has been tested. These examples underscore the importance of understanding the derivation and relevance of TRVs before selecting them for use in screening or in ecological risk assessment.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||An evaluation of inorganic toxicity reference values for use in assessing hazards to American robins (Turdus migratorius)|
|Series title||Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management|
|Contributing office(s)||Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Contaminant Biology Program|