Science Inventory

How does EPA assess risks of chemicals to birds?


Etterson, M., K. Garber, A. Jarvis, AND K. Eisenreich. How does EPA assess risks of chemicals to birds? American Ornithological Society, Tucson, AZ, April 09 - 14, 2018.


In recent years, ornithological journals have greatly reduced their rate of publication of ecotoxicological papers. The papers that are published in ornithological journals generally differ in which contaminants are considered, when compared with avian papers published in ecotoxicological journals. This presentation is intended to give an overview of USEPA pesticide risk assessment for birds to the ornithological community, focusing on aspects of avian risk assessment that are not widely treated or discussed in ornithological journals. The talk is expected to be of broad interest to ornithologists.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) evaluates the risk of chemicals to birds and other non-target organisms using Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA). The specific evaluations conducted under an ERA typically vary by statutory authority and available data. Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, risks of pesticides to birds are assessed using a tiered risk assessment method. Standard toxicity data are required to assess mortality, growth and reproductive effects of a pesticide on birds. The first tier of the risk assessment is conservative and intended to first identify and eliminate from consideration those pesticides that appear to have low risk. Subsequent tiers increase ecological and biological complexity and progressively relax conservatism. Ecological risk assessment processes used by different EPA Offices with different statutory responsibilities will be discussed. Where possible, practices specific to birds will be reviewed.

Record Details:

Product Published Date: 04/14/2018
Record Last Revised: 04/04/2018
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 340293