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Method for derivation of indicative environmental risk limits. (Interim-version 2009)

Handreiking voor de afleiding van indicatieve milieurisicogrenzen. (Interimversie 2009)


Indicative environmental risk limits are proposed to get a quick and low cost impression of possible human and environmental risks of substances in the environment. The RIVM has updated this method to bring it in line with the methodology for thoroughly derived environmental quality standards. In contradiction to the thorough method, the indicative method was not yet adapted to the latest point of view. Indicative environmental risk limits are used as an alternative for the time consuming European accepted thorough method for derivation of environmental risk limits. They are only derived for the concentration at which no harmful effects are to be expected (MPC) and are only accepted in a limited number of frameworks. For the derivation, a limited number of databases are consulted to obtain information on substance characteristics and toxicity. A limited literature search is performed and the found studies are not evaluated. Therefore, there is a higher uncertainty in the derived indicative limits. Environmental risk limits are not legally binding, but provide the scientific basis for setting the environmental quality standards, a task which falls under the authority of the Dutch interdepartmental 'Steering Group Substances'. The government adopts these quality standards when implementing the national policy on substances and the European Water Framework Directive. Four different risk limits are distinguished: 'Negligible Concentration' (NC); the concentration at which no harmful effects are to be expected ('Maximum Permissible Concentration', MPC); the 'Maximum Acceptable Concentration' for ecosystems - specifically in terms of short-term exposure (MACeco); and the concentration at which possible serious effects for ecosystems are to be expected ('Serious Risk Concentrations', SRCeco). The current version is presented as an interim version because a new guideline for the derivation of environmental risk limits within the water framework directive will be enforced as expected in 2010. In the mean time the current version of the methodology will also be evaluated.

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