Extrapolation of laboratory toxicity results to the field: a case study using the OECD artificial soil earthworm toxicity test

  • David J. Spurgeon


Six factors that can alter the sensitivity of organisms in standardized tests compared with the field have been described (Van Straalen and Denneman, 1989). These factors may cause problems when attempts are made to use laboratory results to predict the impact of pollutants in the field, since it is not clear if an extrapolation factor should be applied. Clearly, if results from laboratory assays are to be placed in their correct context within the risk assessment procedure, discrepancies between toxicity in test and natural systems must be evaluated and strategies developed to rationalize such variations. To understand the relationship between toxicity in the laboratory and field, it is essential that studies extrapolating the results of standardized tests to polluted sites are undertaken. The work described in this chapter details such a study. Data from a widely used laboratory test procedure (the earthworm artificial soil toxicity test) for the metals cadmium, copper, lead and zinc has been related to effects on earthworms at polluted sites. This allows the capacity of the test to predict effects on populations and individuals in the field to be assessed. Particular attention has been paid to the influence of soil conditions on the availability and toxicity of the tested chemicals


Toxicity Test Zinc Concentration Zinc Level Field Soil Artificial Soil 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1997

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  • David J. Spurgeon

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