Classifying environmental pollutants: Part 3. External validation of the classification system

Chemosphere. 2000 Apr;40(8):875-83. doi: 10.1016/s0045-6535(99)00317-3.


In order to validate a classification system for the prediction of the toxic effect concentrations of organic environmental pollutants to fish, all available fish acute toxicity data were retrieved from the ECETOC database, a database of quality-evaluated aquatic toxicity measurements created and maintained by the European Centre for the Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals. The individual chemicals for which these data were available were classified according to the rulebase under consideration and predictions of effect concentrations or ranges of possible effect concentrations were generated. These predictions were compared to the actual toxicity data retrieved from the database. The results of this comparison show that generally, the classification system provides adequate predictions of either the aquatic toxicity (class 1) or the possible range of toxicity (other classes) of organic compounds. A slight underestimation of effect concentrations occurs for some highly water soluble, reactive chemicals with low log K(ow) values. On the other end of the scale, some compounds that are classified as belonging to a relatively toxic class appear to belong to the so-called baseline toxicity compounds. For some of these, additional classification rules are proposed. Furthermore, some groups of compounds cannot be classified, although they should be amenable to predictions. For these compounds additional research as to class membership and associated prediction rules is proposed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Databases, Factual
  • Fishes / physiology*
  • Lethal Dose 50
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Quality Control
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Assessment
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Toxicity Tests
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / classification*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*


  • Water Pollutants, Chemical