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Ecological Soil Screening Level

The Ecological Soil Screening Level (Eco-SSL) derivation process represents the collaborative effort of a multi-stakeholder workgroup consisting of federal, state, consulting, industry and academic participants led by the U.S. EPA, Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. It is emphasized that the Eco-SSLs are soil screening numbers, and as such are not appropriate for use as cleanup levels. Screening ecotoxicity values are derived to avoid underestimating risk. Requiring a cleanup based solely on Eco-SSL values would not be technically defensible.

The Eco-SSL web site provides an overview of the contaminant. Separate discussion are provided for each receptor group including a comprehensive list of literature evaluated under the effort, and a summary of data used in deriving Eco-SSL values. For each chemical, Eco-SSL documents are provided in a PDF format. For some documents HTML versions are available with linkages to the toxicity data records within the U.S. EPA’s ECOTOX database.

  • Interim Eco-SSL Documents

    See the Interim Ecological Soil Screening Level Documents page to view/download available documents for metal and organic contaminants.

  • Guidance Documents and SOPs

    See the Guidance for Developing Ecological Soil Screening Levels page to view/download the guidance document, all standard operating procedures, and other attachments.

  • Literature Identification

    Potentially applicable publications were identified through comprehensive searches of the open literature (see Attachment 3-1 for plants and soil invertebrates, and Attachment 4-2 for mammals and birds). Literature citations and full articles were skimmed for potential applicability and acceptability to the Eco-SSL effort (see Attachment 3-1 and Attachment 3-2 for plants and soil invertebrates, and Attachment 4-3 for mammals and birds).

    Publications identified as "Acceptable" met all minimum criteria and received a sufficient score during the data evaluation process, but may not have been used to derive the final Eco-SSL due to other data selection requirements (see Attachment 3-2 for plants and soil invertebrates and Attachment 4-3 for mammals and birds). Publications identified as "Not Acceptable" either did not meet all the acceptance criteria, fell into exclusion categories, or did not receive a sufficient score in the evaluation process. See Literature Rejection Category Keywords for definition of codes describing the basis for rejecting a paper.


      Plant / Invertebrate Avian / Mammal
    Antimony
    Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Not Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Arsenic
    Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Not Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Barium
    Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Not Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Beryllium
    Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Not Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Cadmium
    Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Not Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Chromium
    Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Not Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Cobalt
    Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Not Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Copper
    Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Not Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    DDT and metabolites
    Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Not Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Dieldrin
    Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Not Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Lead
    Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Not Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Manganese
    Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Not Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Nickel
    Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Not Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Pentachlorophenol
    Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Not Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    RDX
    Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Not Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Selenium
    Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Not Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Silver
    Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Not Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    TNT
    Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Not Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Total PAHs
    Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Not Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Vanadium
    Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Not Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Zinc
    Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
    Not Acceptable Papers PDF PDF
  • Tools

    U.S. EPA's Guidelines for Ecological Risk Assessment

    Site useful in obtaining pH and organic matter for specific soil types:

    USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil Survey

  • Frequent Questions

    When will the Eco-SSL Chemical Specific documents be finalized?

    The Eco-SSL Chemical Specific documents are interim in case this publication results in the submission of a significant number of new studies that were missed in the original literature searches. If this happens, EPA would review the tests and recalculate the final Eco-SSL.

    When will the remaining Interim Eco-SSLs and Documentation be completed?

    EPA is currently working on the 'pending' documents, but does not have a specific schedule for future release of documents.