Regulatory ecotoxicology testing in Canada – activities and influence of the Inter-Governmental Ecotoxicological Testing Group

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The Inter-Governmental Ecotoxicological Testing Group (IGETG) is an ad hoc group of government scientists, technologists, data users, and scientific advisors that has been active in the development and application of ecotoxicological testing in Canada. Membership includes representatives from government laboratories that conduct toxicity testing for research and development purposes, monitor effluent discharge for compliance with regulations, and/or perform exploratory monitoring of non-regulated sectors. The original focus of the group was to support the development and application of standardized toxicity test methods under the Fisheries Act but as the group matured it broadened its focus to five goals: (1) to promote the use of ecotoxicity testing; (2) to disseminate and harmonize new knowledge and understanding of issues related to ecotoxicity testing; (3) to provide scientific support to environmental programs; (4) to develop, validate and publish toxicological test methods; and (5) to establish and implement quality assurance practices in toxicology laboratories. Since 1990, IGETG has assisted Environment Canada in standardizing 22 toxicity test methods and in developing eight guidance documents. In this context, we briefly outline the history and future of applied ecotoxicological testing in Canada illustrated by specific examples wherein standard toxicity tests are useful. This paper commemorates IGETG's 35th anniversary.

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