EPA EcoBox Tools by Effects - Terrestrial
As for aquatic receptors, EPA guidance documents and databases contain information for characterizing ecological effects of stressors to terrestrial receptors. EPA provides a set of risk-based soil screening levels (Eco-SSLs) for several soil contaminants that are frequently of ecological concern for terrestrial plants and animals at hazardous waste sites. EPA’s Guidance for Developing Ecological Soil Screening Levels (2005) describes the process used to derive Eco-SSLs and provides guidance for their use.
Eco-SSLs are concentrations of contaminants in soil that are protective of ecological receptors that commonly come into contact with and/or consume biota that live in or on soil. They are derived separately for four groups of ecological receptors: plants, soil invertebrates, mammals, and birds. In deriving Eco-SSLs, only chronic toxicity studies (greater than a 3-day exposure) were accepted for mammalian and avian studies. Although acute studies were not excluded for plants and soil invertebrates, the exposure duration was considered later in the process for selecting the most appropriate test results for deriving the Eco-SSL.
The Eco-SSLs are intended for use in upland soils; however, they may also be useful for screening wetland soils. The wildlife Eco-SSLs are derived for several general receptor groups that are likely to be representative of wildlife found in wetlands, but are not derived for amphibians and reptiles. The Eco-SSLs for plants and soil invertebrates are expected to be broadly applicable (i.e., conservative enough for most soils) as preference was given to studies with high bioavailability of the contaminants in soils. For this reason, the Eco-SSLs for plants and soil invertebrates may be useful for screening for contaminants in wetland soils.
The following table summarizes the availability of EPA’s Eco-SSL values.
|Stressor||Status||Terrestrial Plants||Soil Invertebrates||Mammalian Wildlife||Avian Wildlife|
|Aluminum||Interim final (2003)||Narrative statement|
|Antimony||Interim final (2005)||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Arsenic||Interim final (2005)||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Barium||Interim final (2005)||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Beryllium||Interim final (2005)||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Cadmium||Interim final (2005)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Chromium (III)||Interim final (2008)||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Chromium (IV)||Interim final (2008)||No||No||Yes||No|
|Cobalt||Interim final (2005)||Yes||No||Yes||yes|
|Copper||Interim final (2007)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|DDT and metabolites||2007||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Dieldrin||Interim final (2007)||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Iron||Interim final (2003)||Narrative statement|
|Lead||Interim final (2005)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Manganese||Interim final (2007)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Nickel||Interim final (2007)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)||Interim final (2007)||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Pentachlorophenol||Interim final (2007)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Selenium||Interim final (2007)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Silver||Interim final (2006)||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Vanadium||Interim final (2005)||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Zinc||Interim final (2007)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
EPA’s ECOTOXicology database (ECOTOX) is a source for locating single chemical toxicity data for aquatic life, terrestrial plants, and terrestrial wildlife. ECOTOX integrates three previously independent databases (AQUIRE, PHYTOTOX, and TERRETOX) into a unique system that includes toxicity data derived predominately from the peer-reviewed literature.
Other Federal agencies, state agencies, and some EPA regions have compiled soil screening criteria for the protection of terrestrial plants and animals. See the table below for links to these websites.
The resources listed below include tools that might be used to calculate dose/risk to terrestrial receptors as well as documents that describe how to quantify dose/risk or provide reference values/benchmarks for assessing risks.