sensitive life stage of fish, i.e., very young fish from 0.5-5 grams in weight, and with species that are usually among the most sensitive. These tests for pesticide registration include analysis of observable sublethal effects as well. The intent of acute tests is to statistically derive a median effect level; typically the effect is lethality in fish (LC50) or immobility in aquatic invertebrates (EC50). Typically, a standard fish acute test will include concentrations that cause no mortality, and often no observable sublethal effects, as well as concentrations that would cause 100 % mortality. By looking at the effects at various test concentrations, a dose-response curve can be derived, and one can statistically predict the effects likely to occur at various pesticide concentrations; a well done test can even be extrapolated, with caution, to concentrations below those tested (or above the test concentrations if the highest concentration did not produce 100 % mortality). OPP typically uses qualitative descriptors to describe different levels of acute toxicity, the most likely kind of effect of modern pesticides (Table 1). These are widely used for comparative purposes, but must be associated with exposure before any conclusions can be drawn with respect to risk. Pesticides that are considered highly toxic or very highly toxic are required to have a label statement indicating that level of toxicity. The FIFRA regulations [40CFR158.490(a)] do not require calculating a specific LC50 or EC50 for pesticides that are practically non-toxic; the LC50 or EC50 would simply be expressed as>100 ppm. When no lethal or sublethal effects are observed at 100 ppm, OPP considers the pesticide will have “no effect ” on the species. Table 1. Qualitative descriptors for categories of fish and aquatic invertebrate toxicity (from Zucker, 1985
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