Thresholds of toxicological concern for endocrine active substances in the aquatic environment

Integr Environ Assess Manag. 2010 Jan;6(1):2-11. doi: 10.1897/IEAM_2008-092.1.


The threshold of toxicological concern (TTC) concept proposes that an exposure threshold value can be derived for chemicals, below which no significant risk to human health or the environment is expected. This concept goes further than setting acceptable exposure levels for individual chemicals, because it attempts to set a de minimis value for chemicals, including those of unknown toxicity, by taking the chemical's structure or mode of action (MOA) into consideration. This study examines the use of the TTC concern concept for endocrine active substances (EAS) with an estrogenic MOA. A case study formed the basis for a workshop of regulatory, industry and academic scientists held to discuss the use of the TTC in aquatic environmental risk assessment. The feasibility and acceptability, general advantages and disadvantages, and the specific issues that need to be considered when applying the TTC concept for EAS in risk assessment were addressed. Issues surrounding the statistical approaches used to derive TTCs were also discussed. This study presents discussion points and consensus findings of the workshop.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endocrine System / drug effects*
  • Environmental Health
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Humans
  • No-Observed-Adverse-Effect Level*
  • Receptors, Estrogen / agonists
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*


  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical