Weight-of-Evidence Environmental Risk Assessment

  • Patrik FauserEmail author
  • Erik Amos Pedersen
  • Ilias Christensen
Conference paper
Part of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security book series (NAPSC)


In this chapter, the data generated within MODUM and other related projects, i.e. CHEMSEA, MERCW and NordStream, contributing to the knowledge and data on occurrence, toxicity and effects of chemical warfare agents (CWAs) and their metabolites in the Baltic Sea, are aggregated. The data are evaluated and assessed in terms of risk quotients, and whether these point to risk or no-risk towards effects on lower tier organisms (e.g. algae and daphnia), and higher tier organisms (fish) from exposure to dumped CWAs and their metabolites in the study areas. To perform a semi-quantitative assessment of the environmental risk, a number of Lines of Evidences (LoEs) are set up, that take all aspects of the performed investigations into account. Each LoE is assigned +3, +2, +1, 0, −1, −2 or −3, indicating if the LoE is found to be for (+), against (−) or neutral (0) to an increased environmental risk of dumped CWAs. The weight also reflects the predictive power, or significance, of the individual LoEs. From nine LoEs a resulting summed score of +9 indicates that there is a weak to moderate potential for confirming the hypothesis. In order to qualify and increase the precision of the weights recommendations are given that can be addressed in future investigations regarding compounds, sites and species that could be in focus. Furthermore, recommendations for activities that will improve the exposure and toxicity data, that are inherent in the environmental risk assessment, are stated.


Chemical Warfare Agents (CWAs) Risk Quotient (RQ) Predicted No Effect Concentration (PNEC) Bornholm Deep Sulphur Mustard 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Baršiene J, Butrimavičiene L, Grygiel W, Lang T, Michailovas A, Jackunas T (2014) Environmental genotoxicity and cytotoxicity in flounder (Platichthys flesus), herring (Clupea harengus) and Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) from chemical munitions dumping zones in the southern Baltic Sea. Mar Environ Res 96:56–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Calamari D, Galassi S, Setti F, Vighi M (1983) Toxicity of selected chlorobenzenes to aquatic organisms. Chemosphere 12(2):253–262. doi: 10.1016/0045-6535(83)90168-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Christensen IMA, Storgaard MS, Hansen SF, Baatrup E, Sanderson H (2016) Acute toxicity of sea-dumped chemical munitions : luminating the environmental toxicity of legacy compounds, global security: health, science and policy. Routledge 1(1):39–50. doi: 10.1080/23779497.2016.1219962 Google Scholar
  4. Czub M, Kotwicki L, Jąkacki J, Andrzejewski J, Grabowski M, Szubska M, Bełdowski J, Klusek Z, Rak D, Sanderson H, Lang T (2016) Deep Marine Habitats in the Chemical Warfare Dumping areas of the Baltic Sea: Towards the Ecological Risk Assessment (draft Nov 2016)Google Scholar
  5. DiToro DM (1991) Technical basis for establishing sediment quality cri-teria for non-ionic organic chemicals using equilibrium partitioning. Environ Toxicol Chem 10:1541–1583CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. ECHA (2008) European Chemicals Agency. Guidance on information requirements and chemical safety assessment. Chapter R.10: Characterisation of dose [concentration]-response for environmentGoogle Scholar
  7. Emelyanov EM (1996) Chemical components and elements in the Sus-pend-ed matter and sediments of the western Baltic. Baltica 9:5–15Google Scholar
  8. Forster S, Bobertz B, Bohling B (2003) Permeability of sands in the coastal areas of the southern Baltic Sea: mapping a grain-size related sediment property. Aquat Geochem 9:171–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. HELCOM (1994) Report on chemical munitions dumped in the Baltic Sea. Dan Environ Prot Agency. Available at:
  10. HELCOM (2013) Knobloch T, Bełdowski J, Böttcher C, Söderström M, Rühl N-P, Sternheim J (2013) Chemical munitions dumped in the Baltic Sea, Baltic Sea environment proceedings No. 142. Available at:
  11. Muribi M (1997) Toxicity of mustard gas and two arsenic based chemical warfare agents on Daphnia magna : for evaluation of the ecotoxicological risk of the dumped chemical warfare agents in the Baltic Sea. Available at:
  12. NRC (2003) Bioavailability of contaminants in soils and sediments: processes, tools, and applications committee on bioavailability of contaminants in soils and sediments, national research council. ISBN: 0–309-50578-X, 432 pages, available at:
  13. Sanderson H, Fauser P (2016) Confidential Nordstream 2 ReportGoogle Scholar
  14. Sanderson H, Fauser P, Thomsen M, Larsen JB (2012) Weight-of-evidence environmental risk assessment of dumped chemical weapons after WWII along the Nord-stream gas pipeline in the Bornholm deep. J Hazard Mater 215–216:217–226. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2012.02.057 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Sanderson H, Fauser P, Thomsen M, Sørensen PB (2008) Screening level fish community risk assessment of chemical warfare agents in the Baltic Sea. J Hazard Mater 154(1–3):846–857. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2007.10.117 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Schaber M, Hinrichsen H-H, Gröger J (2011) Seasonal changes in vertical distribution patterns of cod (Gadus morhua) in the Bornholm Basin, central Baltic Sea. Fish Oceanogr 21:33–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Storgaard MS, Sanderson H, Henriksen PG, Fauser P, Östin A, Baatrup E (2016). Suppressed swimming activity in Zebrafish (Danio rerio) exposed to 1,4,5-oxadithiepane, a sulphur mustard degradation product. SubmittedGoogle Scholar
  18. Suter GW, Cormier SM (2011) Why and how to combine evidence in environmental assessments: weighing evidence and building cases. Sci Total Environ 409:1406–1417. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.12.029 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. UN (2010) Globally harmonized system of classification and labelling of chemicals (GHS)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrik Fauser
    • 1
    Email author
  • Erik Amos Pedersen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ilias Christensen
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus UniversityRoskildeDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Engineering, University of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of DenmarkLyngbyDenmark

Personalised recommendations