ECETOC and RIFM - Defining the role of chemical activity in environmental risk assessment within the context of mode of action: practical guidance and advice



In October 2015, RIFM co-sponsored an international workshop with The European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals (ECETOC) on The Role Of Chemical Activity In Environmental Risk Assessment.

Participation in the workshop was by invitation and included 36 scientists from industry, academia and regulatory bodies from around the globe. The 2-day workshop was held prior to the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) North America Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The workshop was orgaanized to address a variety of challenges facing environmental risk assessors: 

  • Growing concerns about the effects of multiple stressors (both chemical and non-chemical)
  • Risks associated with exposure to complex mixtures
  • Demands to quantify local site-specific risks
  • Providing a more efficient framework to address emerging problems and questions 
  • Reduction of costs and the use of animals


The participants assessed the use of chemical activity in the interpretation of effects data. Recent studies have demonstrated that the concept is effective with respect to acute baseline toxicity. The emphasis of this group was on expanding the concept to chronic baseline toxicity and providing guidance regarding the handling of acute effects for non-narcotic chemicals.

The results of this meeting will provide recommendations for further research and model development.

A presentation and two posters were developed after the workshop and presented at SETAC's North America Meeting in November 2015. Several papers are also in progress.

A follow-up workshop will take place in the US in November 2016 before SETAC North America in Orlando, Florida. 

Read the In A Nutshell Summary.  Read the full Workshop Report.

For more information on ECETOC, visit their website.