Cefic-lri Programme | European Chemical Industry Council

ECO45: Chemicals – Assessment of Risks to Ecosystem Services (CARES) II

Principal Investigator

Prof. Lorraine Maltby
The University of Sheffield
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences
S10 2TN, UK
Tel. +44 114 222 4827


Prof. Dr. Paul J. van den Brink, Professor of Chemical Stress Ecology Wageningen University & Alterra, NL, paul.vandenbrink@wur.nl
Dr. Jack H. Faber, Alterra.
Dr Stuart Marshall, Consultant, Bedford, UK, stuart.marshall1@outlook.com


A multidisciplinary team including ecologists, ecotoxicologists and risk assessors will use existing information to undertake a minimum of six environmental risk assessments across three case studies. For each case study, the environmental risk of the study chemical(s) will be assessed using both existing regulatory frameworks (e.g. REACH, EC 1107/2009) and an ecosystem service approach. Two case studies will focus on prospective risk assessment and one case study will focus on retrospective risk assessment. Each case study will consider multiple ecosystem services and, where appropriate, multiple environmental compartments. Key stakeholders from the chemical industry, regulatory authorities (including risk managers) and academia will participate in two events; the first to agree the design of the case studies and the second to evaluate the case study outcomes. The applicability of existing approaches (i.e. test methodologies, indicators, EPFs) for assessing chemical risk to ecosystem service delivery will be evaluated prior to undertaking the case studies.

Outputs: Worked examples of tiered risk assessment processes addressing the impacts of chemical exposure on the delivery of multiple ecosystem services. Peer-reviewed manuscripts.

Outcome: Evaluation of the added value to regulatory decision making of adopting an ecosystem service approach to chemical risk assessment.


1. To evaluate the relevance of existing methodologies to assess the impact of chemical exposure to ecosystem service delivery.
2. To evaluate the applicability of currently available ecological production functions (EPFs) to chemical risk assessment.
3. To undertake a tiered prospective risk assessment of the effect of two different case study chemicals on multiple ecosystem services within a multifunctional, multi-compartment landscape.
4. To undertake a retrospective risk assessment of a case study chemical on multiple ecosystem services.
5. To explore approaches to characterise and evaluate ecosystem service trade-offs and to develop risk assessment options that inform risk management decisions.
6. To compare the outcome of an ecosystem services-based risk assessment with the outcome of current relevant regulatory risk assessment approaches and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each type of assessment.


The stated aim of the proposed project is: ‘To evaluate the practical applicability of an ecosystem services approach to prospective and retrospective chemical risk assessment’. As this is a ‘proof of concept’ study, the purpose is to evaluate what can be achieved with existing methodologies and datasets and not to generate new data, tools or approaches. The study should compare the outcome of an ES approach to chemical ERA against existing regulatory ERA approaches, so that added value to the risk management process (i.e. the end point of regulatory ERA) can be identified.  The project aim will be achieved via three case studies, two focused on perspective ERA and one on retrospective ERA.

The CARES project was successful in building a community of stakeholders from the chemical industry, academia and regulatory bodies that co-produced an evaluation of the potential application of an ES approach to chemical ERA and co-designed a framework for a ‘proof of concept’ study.  This project will maintain this collaboration by arranging two stakeholder events: a Stakeholder Meeting will be held to reach agreement on the design of the case studies; a Stakeholder Workshop will evaluate the outcome of the case studies and reach consensus on the next steps.

Read more:

Poster: Chemicals: Assessment of Risks to Ecosystem Services (CARES) II”, Lorraine Maltby, Paul J. Van den Brink, Jack Faber, Stuart Marshall

Poster: “Chemicals: Assessment of Risks to Ecosystem Services (CARES II) – Proof of concept case study on zinc (retrospective ERA)”, A Ross Brown1, Stuart Marshall2, Chris Cooper3, Paul Whitehouse4, June Jones4, Jonny Griffiths4, Paul Van den Brink5, Jack Faber5 Lorraine Maltby6

Presentation: “Assessing chemical risk within an ecosystem services framework: a proof of concept studies”, Lorraine Maltby, Paul van den Brink, Jack Faber, Stuart Marshall, Ross Brown

Poster: “Environmental risk assessment of plant protection products using the ecosystem services concept: Prospective proof of concept case study”, Paul J. Van den Brink, Pernille Thorbek, Nika Galic, Hans Baveco, Annika Agatz, Anne Alix and Lorraine Maltby

Poster: “Chemicals: Assessment of Risks to Ecosystem Services (CARES II) – Proof of concept case study of a surfactant used in consumer products”, Stuart Marshall, Oliver Warwick, Mike Crookes, Nika Galic, Lorraine Maltby, Paul J. Van den Brink, Jack Faber, Ross Brown

Related Publications

Brown RA, Marshall S, Cooper C, Whitehouse P, Van den Brink PJ, Faber JH, Maltby L. (2021) Assessing the feasibility and value of employing an ecosystem services approach in chemical environmental risk assessment under the Water Framework Directive. Science of the Total Environment 789: 147859

Faber, JH; Marshall S, Brown AR, Holt A, Van den Brink, PJ, Maltby L (2021) Identifying ecological production functions for use in ecosystem services-based environmental risk assessment of chemicals. Science of the Total Environment

Maltby L, Brown AR, Faber JH,  Galic N, Van den Brink PJ, Warwick O, Marshall S (2021) Assessing chemical risk within an ecosystem services framework: Implementation and added value Science of the Total Environment

Van den Brink PJ, Alix A; Thorbek P; Baveco H; Agatz A; Faber JH; Brown AR; Marshall S; Maltby L (in press) The use of ecological models to assess the effects of a plant protection product on ecosystem services provided by an orchard.  Science of the Total Environment 798: 149329

Timeline: April 2018 > April 2020

LRI funding: € 400 000

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