Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment

Ecotoxicology

The mission of the Ecotoxicology Program within the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is to advance the science and practice of ecological risk assessment (ERA). We focus on developing tools and technical resources to assess the impacts of chemical, physical, and biological stressors on ecosystems. Our current focus is on aquatic ecosystems.

Our Program was established in 1993 with the goal of applying tools from the developing field of human heath risk assessment to address the risks caused by chemicals on California’s ecosystems. In 1998, the US EPA adopted a set of Guidelines for “evaluating the likelihood that adverse ecological effects may occur or are occurring as a result of exposure to one or more physical, chemical, or biological stressors”. ERA is based on a simple three-step process which includes a) identifying the problem or stressor(s) of concern, b) analyzing the stressors by characterizing their exposure and ecological effects, and c) characterizing risk using a variety of methods. The work of the OEHHA Ecotoxicology Program is currently focused on applying this approach to understanding risks to the State’s aquatic resources.

To inquire about our Program, contact bwashburn@oehha.ca.gov

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