In ‘Science of the Total Environment 628–629 (2018) 748–765’ a concept for determining effect-based trigger values (EBT) for numerous in vitro bioassays is described. Also for the A-YES® an EBT for estrogenicity is calculated with the developed method which is depicted in the publication.
Effect-based trigger values for in vitro and in vivo bioassays performed on surface water extracts supporting the environmental quality standards (EQS) of the European Water Framework Directive
Effect-based methods including cell-based bioassays, reporter gene assays and whole-organism assays have been applied for decades in water quality monitoring and testing of enriched solid-phase extracts. There is no common EU-wide agreement on what level of bioassay response in water extracts is acceptable. At present, bioassay results are only benchmarked against each other but not against a consented measure of chemical water quality. The EU environmental quality standards (EQS) differentiate between acceptable and unacceptable surface water concentrations for individual chemicals but cannot capture the thousands of chemicals in water and their biological action as mixtures. We developed a method that reads across from existing EQS and includes additional mixture considerations with the goal that the derived effect-based trigger values (EBT) indicate acceptable risk for complex mixtures as they occur in surface water. Advantages and limitations of various approaches to read across from EQS are discussed and distilled to an algorithm that translates EQS into their corresponding bioanalytical equivalent concentrations (BEQ). The proposed EBT derivation method was applied to 48 in vitro bioassays with 32 of them having sufficient information to yield preliminary EBTs. To assess the practicability and robustness of the proposed approach, we compared the tentative EBTswith observed environmental effects. The proposed method only gives guidance on howto derive EBTs but does not propose final EBTs for implementation. The EBTs for some bioassays such as those for estrogenicity are already mature and could be implemented into regulation in the near future, while for others it will still take a few iterations until we can be confident of the power of the proposed EBTs to differentiate good from poor water quality with respect to chemical contamination.