Time and concentration dependency in the potentially affected fraction of species: the case of hydrogen peroxide treatment of ballast water.
Transport of large volumes of ballast water contributes greatly to invasions of species. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) can be used as a disinfectant to prevent the spread of exotic species via ballast water. Instead of using environmental risk assessment techniques for protecting a certain fraction of the species from being affected, the present study aimed to apply these techniques to define treatment regimes of H2O2 and effectively eliminate as many species as possible. Based on time-dependent dose-response curves for five marine species (Corophium volutator, Anemia salina, Brachionus plicatilis, Dunaliella teriolecta, and Skeletonema costatum), time-dependent species-sensitivity distributions (SSDs) were derived for different effect sizes. The present study showed that H2O2 can be used effectively to treat ballast water but that relatively high concentrations and long treatment durations are required to eliminate the vast majority of species in ballast water. The described toxicant effectiveness approach using SSDs also has other potential fields of application, including short-term application of biocides.