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Ecological & Environmental Risk Assessment


Exponent is nationally and internationally recognized as a leader in the development and implementation of approaches for assessing and managing ecological risks. Exponent’s scientists and risk assessors combine practical approaches with state-of-the-art science to address our clients’ diverse needs. The Exponent team not only addresses the risks of chemicals but also addresses new technologies, facilities, biological stressors (introduced species), physical alterations of ecosystems, and aspects of climate change. Projects have been implemented in most environments of the world, including suburban environments, watersheds, deserts, rain forests, and oceans. In the absence of guidance, we have developed approaches that satisfy the needs of major corporations and that are defensible in international courts.

Exponent has a diverse group of professionals that make up our ecological and environmental risk assessment practice. Expertise within this group encompasses a variety of disciplines, including biology, chemistry, ecology, toxicology, fisheries, oceanography, limnology, statistics, and spatial analysis. Our ecologists and environmental scientists can draw on the knowledge and expertise of scientists, engineers, physicians, and business consultants in more than 90 additional technical disciplines, including the closely-related health sciences practice.

Our ecological and environmental risk practitioners work closely with the human health risk assessment practice group on many projects, because most projects are multifaceted and need to address not only the ecology, but the human factors associated with a project. A number of our professionals have expertise in both ecological and human health risk assessment. It is important to have the big picture in mind and to balance the ecological and human health aspects of a project, and we have a reputation for doing that well.

Our primary services include:

  • Designing, conducting, and interpreting aquatic and wildlife exposure and toxicology studies to evaluate specific environmental conditions 
  • Conducting ecological assessments to evaluate chemicals, petrochemicals, and consumer and industrial products in a wide variety of terrestrial and aquatic environments 
  • Conducting specialized sediment-related ecological and environmental assessments 
  • Providing technical review and support related to product stewardship to evaluate the ecological and environmental implications of current products or new products 
  • Offering technical support related to ecology and the environment during negotiations and litigation associated with difficult environmental or ecological issues 
  • Providing technical review and support during the development of regulatory policies and guidelines 
  • Evaluating ecological implications of remedial action decisions at hazardous waste sites and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) facilities 
  • Developing cost-effective compliance strategies and monitoring programs for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), and other regulatory requirements under the Clean Water Act 
  • Applying unique exposure models and food-web evaluations 

The primary environments in which we have worked include: 

  • Coastal marine environment 
  • Estuaries 
  • Inland lakes and streams 
  • Wetlands  
  • Deserts 
  • Shortgrass prairie 
  • Tallgrass prairie 
  • Tundra 
  • Deciduous and coniferous forests 

Exponent’s experience includes the following primary chemical and biological stressors: 

  • Heavy metals, including arsenic, barium, lead, cadmium, chromium, arsenic, mercury, and methyl mercury 
  • Petroleum hydrocarbons related to crude oil and its derivatives 
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) 
  • Dioxins and dibenzofurans 
  • Explosives and explosives-related compounds such as trinitrotoluene 
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) 
  • Bacterial agents 
  • Viral agents 
  • Invasive species