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background concentration

an average or expected concentration of a substance l in a specific environment, or typical concentrations of substances that occur naturally in an environment.

Bioconcentration Factor
BioConcentration Factor BCF

a bioconcentration+Factor" target="_blank">bioconcentration Factor L/kg can either be expressed as the ratio of the concentration of a substance in an organism to the concentration in water once a steady state has been achieved static BCF, or, on a non-equillibrium basis, as the quotient of the uptake and depuration rate constants dynamic BCF. Static and dynamic BCFs can be equally used for regulatory purposes. The parameter gives an indication of the accumulation potential of a substance. Source: REACH Glossary

concentration-effect curve
dose and concentration in environmnetal toxicology
lower explosion border concentration
Lowest Observed Effects Concentration
Maximum Allowable Toxicant Concentration MATC
no effect concentration
No Observed Adverse Effects Concentration (NOAEC)
NOEC is the highest tested concentration at which there is no adverse effect on the testorganism, no statistically significant difference in the measured endpoint compared to untreated on long term.
No Observed Effects Concentration (NOEC)

The number of odour units per unit of volume. The numeric value of the odour concentration, expressed in odour units ( E/ m3 ) equals the number of times that the air should be treated with odourless air to reach the odour threshold.

A standard for odour, expressed as a maximum concentration, which may not be crossed.

Odour treshold is the concentration of a gaseous substance, expressed in µg/m3, which will be discerned from odourless air by at least half of an odour panel. The odour threshold per definition has an odour concentration of 1 odour unit/ m3.

Serious odour nuisance is the degree of odour nuisance which exceeds the maximum admittable level for human health. Both health effects and personally experienced effects play a part here. In practise a level of odour nuisance is determined by questionnaires in which people can describe the degree of odour nuisance they have experienced.

Predicted Environmental Concentration (PEC)
Predicted No Effects Concentration (PNEC)

concentration of the substance below which adverse effects in the environmental sphere of concern are not expected to occur. PNEC is relevant for an ecosystem, e.g. aquatic or terrestrial. PNEC is generally calculated from the ecotoxicity test results of testorganisms of three different trophic levels by factorial extrapolation, using safety factors or by statistical extrapolation.

Applying factorial extrapolation the following assessment factors are applied according to uniform protocols:

f=1000: at least one short-term EC50 from each of three trophic levels,
f = 100: long-term NOEC from one trophic level besides 2 acute,
f = 50: long-term NOEC from species representing two trophic levels besides one acute,
f = 10: long-term NOEC from at least three trophic levels,
f = 1: PNEC can be directly measured in microcosms, mesocosms or ecosystem-field-testing.

Another method to determine a PNEC value is the use of statistical extrapolation methods using the variation in species sensitivity. If a large data set with NOECs from long-term experiments for different taxonomic groups is available, these values can be used to draw a distribution. This distribution that describes the variability of hazard of a substance to organisms is called a Species Sensitivity Distribution (SSD). This distribution can be presented as a frequency distribution (cumulative normal distribution curves or other similar distribution curves) of NOEC values for species. From this curve we can read Xm, the mean toxicity expressed as the mean NOEC value of a substance. The Sm represents the toxicity range or variation in sensitivity of a substance.

The main assumption on the use of SSDs in risk assessment is that the distribution based on a selection of species (tested in laboratory experiments) are representative for all species (in the field).

Statistical extrapolation methods may be used to derive a PNEC from a SSD by taking a prescribed percentile of this distribution. For pragmatic reasons it has been decided that the concentration corresponding with the point in the SSD profile below which 5% of the species occur, should be derived as an intermediate value in the determination of a PNEC. This 5% point in the SSD is also identified as a hazardous concentration (HC) at which a certain percentage (in this case 5%) of all species is assumed to be affected.

Reference Concentration (RfC)
upper explosion border concentration
verified background concentration