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Toxicological effects assessment for wildlife in the 21st Century: Review of current methods and recommendations for a path forward

June 1, 2023

Model species (e.g., granivorous gamebirds, waterfowl, passerines, domesticated rodents) have been used for decades in guideline laboratory tests to generate survival, growth and reproductive data for prospective Ecological Risk Assessments (ERAs) for birds and mammals, while officially adopted risk assessment schemes for amphibians and reptiles do not exist. There are recognized shortcomings of current in vivo methods as well as uncertainty around the extent to which species with different life histories (e.g., terrestrial amphibians, reptiles, bats) than these commonly used models are protected by existing ERA frameworks. Approaches other than validating additional animal models for testing are being developed, but incorporation of such new approach methodologies (NAMs) into risk assessment frameworks will require robust validations against in vivo responses. This takes time, and the ability to extrapolate findings from non-animal studies to organism- and population-level effects in terrestrial wildlife remains weak. Failure to adequately anticipate and predict hazards could have economic and potentially even legal consequences for regulators and product registrants. In order to be able to use fewer animals or replace them altogether in the long-term, vertebrate use and whole organism data will be needed to provide data for NAMs validation in the short term. Therefore, it is worth investing resources for potential updates to existing standard test guidelines used in the laboratory as well as addressing the need for clear guidance on conduct of field studies. Herein we review the potential for improving standard in vivo test methods and for advancing the use of field studies in wildlife risk assessment, as these tools will be needed into the foreseeable future.

Publication Year 2023
Title Toxicological effects assessment for wildlife in the 21st Century: Review of current methods and recommendations for a path forward
DOI 10.1002/ieam.4795
Authors Thomas G. Bean, Val R. Beasley, Philippe Berny, Karen M. Eisenreich, John E. Elliott, Margaret L. Eng, Phyllis C. Fuchsman, Mark S. Johnson, Mason D. King, Rafael Mateo Soria, Carolyn B. Meyer, Christopher J. Salice, Barnett A. Rattner
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management
Index ID 70244184
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Eastern Ecological Science Center