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Using toxicokinetic-toxicodynamic modeling as an acute risk assessment refinement approach in vertebrate ecological risk assessment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Virginie Ducrot
  • Roman Ashauer
  • Agnieszka J Bednarska
  • Silvia Hinarejos
  • Pernille Thorbek
  • Gabriel Weyman


Publication details

JournalIntegrated Environmental Assessment and Management
DatePublished - 11 Jun 2015
Issue number9999
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)1-14
Original languageEnglish


Recent guidance identified toxicokinetic-toxicodynamic (TK-TD) modeling as a relevant approach for risk assessment refinement. Yet, its added value compared to other refinement options is not detailed, and how to conduct the modeling appropriately is not explained. This case study addresses these issues through 2 examples of individual-level risk assessment for 2 hypothetical plant protection products: 1) evaluating the risk for small granivorous birds and small omnivorous mammals of a single application, as a seed treatment in winter cereals, and 2) evaluating the risk for fish after a pulsed treatment in the edge-of-field zone. Using acute test data, we conducted the first tier risk assessment as defined in the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) guidance. When first tier risk assessment highlighted a concern, refinement options were discussed. Cases where the use of models should be preferred over other existing refinement approaches were highlighted. We then practically conducted the risk assessment refinement by using 2 different models as examples. In example 1, a TK model accounting for toxicokinetics and relevant feeding patterns in the skylark and in the wood mouse was used to predict internal doses of the hypothetical active ingredient in individuals, based on relevant feeding patterns in an in-crop situation, and identify the residue levels leading to mortality. In example 2, a TK-TD model accounting for toxicokinetics, toxicodynamics, and relevant exposure patterns in the fathead minnow was used to predict the time-course of fish survival for relevant FOCUS SW exposure scenarios and identify which scenarios might lead to mortality. Models were calibrated using available standard data and implemented to simulate the time-course of internal dose of active ingredient or survival for different exposure scenarios. Simulation results were discussed and used to derive the risk assessment refinement endpoints used for decision. Finally, we compared the "classical" risk assessment approach with the model-based approach. These comparisons showed that TK and TK-TD models can bring more realism to the risk assessment through the possibility to study realistic exposure scenarios and to simulate relevant mechanisms of effects (including delayed toxicity and recovery). Noticeably, using TK-TD models is currently the most relevant way to directly connect realistic exposure patterns to effects. We conclude with recommendations on how to properly use TK and TK-TD model in acute risk assessment for vertebrates. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2015;X:000-000. © 2015 SETAC.

Bibliographical note

© 2015 SETAC.

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