Comparative chemical sensitivity between marine Australian and Northern hemisphere ecosystems: Is an uncertainty factor warranted for water quality guideline setting?
The lack of Australian species data has pragmatically led to the use of toxicological data from the Northern hemisphere to develop water quality guidelines. However it is unknown whether Australian species and ecosystems are equally as sensitive, and if an ‘uncertainty factor’ is warranted for Australian guideline setting. In the present study, it is hypothesised an uncertainty factor is not required. This was tested by generating species sensitivity distributions (SSDs) by two parametric methods using marine Northern hemisphere and Australian/New Zealand data. Sufficient acute data was only found for three compounds: 4‐chlorophenol, phenol and ammonia. For ammonia and 4‐chlorophenol, the 95% species protection levels generated with Australian and Northern hemisphere data were essentially the same. For phenol, protection levels derived from Australian data were approximately 10 fold higher. Therefore the derived benchmark concentration from Northern hemisphere data should be protective. It is tentatively concluded there is no need for an uncertainty factor when deriving water quality guidelines for marine Australian ecosystems using Northern hemisphere data. It is however noted this is based on only three compounds. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2014 SETAC