Randall Wentsel
Randall Wentsel, Ph.D.
Senior Managing Scientist
Ecological & Biological Sciences
  • District of Columbia

Dr. Wentsel has over 30 years of experience in environmental sciences in areas including: sediment, aquatic, and terrestrial toxicology; ecological risk assessment; research strategies; and science policy. Dr. Wentsel has authored over 30 open literature publications, 70 government publications, and various book chapters addressing state-of-the-art techniques and environmental toxicology and risk assessment issues.

One of Dr. Wentsel’s strengths is the ability to lead multi-disciplinary groups of scientists to address complex issues and to delineate attainable goals; these efforts have resulted in providing guidance to the scientific community. Primary examples (that he has led or co-led) include the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Framework for Metals Risk Assessment, the EPA Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) Guidance on Ecological Soil Screening Levels, a White House Committee for Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) document on Ecological Risk Assessment in the Federal Government, and a DoD Tri-service guidance on Ecological Risk Assessment.

Dr. Wentsel has served in several Federal government positions. He was the National Program Director (NPD) for Contaminated Sites/Resource Conservation in the EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD), where he provided scientific direction of the program, strategic planning, and documentation of research impacts and applications. In the EPA Office of Water, Dr. Wentsel was a Branch Chief and supervised a staff addressing nutrient criteria, biosolids issues, and sedimentation criteria. He also worked in the ORD National Center for Environmental Assessment and the Office of Science Policy. Working for DoD, Dr. Wentsel managed research activities in ecological risk assessment, aquatic and terrestrial toxicology and biotechnology at the U.S. Army Edgewood Research, Development, and Engineering Center.

At Exponent, Dr. Wentsel co-led a workshop on soil metals criteria which resulted in a special series in Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management. Other projects have addressed contaminated sediments, life cycle assessment, and technical support for the metals industry and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) on risk assessment issues. Research interests include: ecological risk assessment, aquatic and terrestrial toxicology, performance of research organizations, research outcomes, and remediation effectiveness.

Dr. Wentsel is active in peer review panels, advisory committees, and technical workshops. In the EPA development of ecological risk assessment (ERA) methods, Dr. Wentsel was a peer reviewer on the ERA Framework report, case studies, and guidelines. Technical workshops have included: assessing multiple stressors to ecosystems, ecological risk management, population modeling, soil quality standards, and bioavailability.


  • Ph.D., Bionuclear, Purdue University, 1977
  • M.S., Biology, Butler University, 1974
  • B.S., Zoology, De Pauw University, 1973
  • EPA Science Achievement Award for Biology/Ecology


Greenberg MS, Schoeters I, Wentsel RS, Charters DW, Mitchell IA, Zajdlik B. Regulatory considerations for the potential development and application of metal clean‐up values. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2014; 10:401–414.

Wentsel RS, Fairbrother A. Next steps in the development of ecological soil clean‐up values for metals. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2014; 10:342–345.

Bradham K, Wentsel R. Scientific issues in the U.S. EPA framework for metals risk assessment. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Part A 2010; 73:108–113.

Fairbrother A, Wentsel R, Sappington K, Wood W. Framework for metals risk assessment. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 2007; 68:145–227.

Wentsel R, Beyer N, Forbes V, Maud S, Pastorok R. A framework to apply population-level methods to ecological risk assessment. Chapter 10. In: Population-Level Ecological Risk Assessment. Barnthouse L (ed), SETAC Press, 2003.

Dearfield, K, Bender E, Kravitz M, Wentsel R, Slimak M, Farland W, Gilman P. Ecological risk assessment issues identified during the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s examination of risk assessment practices. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management 2005; 1(1):73–76.

Blundell A, Scatena F, Wentsel R, Sommers W. Ecorisk assessment using indicators of sustainability: Invasive species in the Caribbean National Forest of Puerto Rico. Journal of Forestry 2003; 101(1):14–19.

Sappington K, Fairbrother A, Wentsel R, Wood W. Development of a framework for metals risk assessment. Journal of Environmental Management 2003; 5(6):321–330.

Wentsel R, Beyer N, Edwards C, Kapustka L, Kuperman R. Effects of contaminants on soil ecosystem structure and function. Chapter 4. In: Assessing Contaminated Soils: From Soil-Contaminant Interactions to Ecosystem Management. Lanno et al. (eds), SETAC Press, Pensalcola, FL, 2003.

Wentsel R, Blaney B, Kowalski L, Bennett D, Grevatt P. Future directions for EPA Superfund research. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 2002; 205(1–2):161–163.

Kowalski L, Denne J, Dyer R, Garrahan K, Wentsel R. Overview of EPA Superfund Human Health Research Program. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 2002; 205(1–2):143–148.

Wentsel R, Zeeman M, Maciorowski A, Ells S, Orr R. Examples of risk-based decision making. Chapter 5. In: Risk Management: Ecological Risk Based Decision-Making. Stahl R, Pittinger C, DeFur P, Barton A, Wentsel R (eds), SETAC Press, Pensacola, FL, 2001.

Stahl R, Pittinger C, DeFur P, Barton A, Wentsel R (eds), Risk Management: Ecological Risk Based Decision-Making. SETAC Press, Pensacola, FL, 2001.

Wentsel R, Van der Schalie W, Sommers W. Ecological Risk Assessment in the Federal Government. Comments on Toxicology 2001; 7(5):495–518.

Wentsel R. Contributing chapter author. Characterizing Risks and Impacts Associated with Multiple Stressors. Chapter 3.1. In: Multiple Stressors in Ecological Risk and Impact Assessment. Foran J, Ferenc S (eds), SETAC Press, Pensalcola, FL, 1999.

Wentsel RS. Application of risk assessment in policy and legislation. Appendix 1. In: Ecotoxicological Risk Assessment of the Chlorinated Organic Chemicals. Carey et al. (eds), SETAC Press, Pensalcola, FL, pp. 211–234, 1998.

Wentsel RS. Application of risk assessment in policy and legislation – North America. Chapter 10. In: Handbook of Environmental Risk Assessment & Management, Blackwell Science Ltd., Oxford, England, UK, pp. 261–288, 1998.

Wentsel R. Contributing author. Ecotoxicological Risk Assessment of Chlorinated Organic Chemicals. Carey J, et al. (eds), SETAC Press, Pensalcola, FL, 1998.

Pittinger C, Bachman R, Barton A, Clark J, DeFur P, Ells S, Slimak M, Stahl R, Wentsel R. A multi-stakeholder framework for ecological risk management proceedings of a SETAC technical workshop. Supplement to Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 1998; 18(1).

Wentsel RS, Simini M, Checkai RT, Ludwig D, La Point T. Procedural guidelines for ecological risk assessments at U.S. Army sites. Environmental Toxicology and Risk Assessment: Modeling and Risk Assessment, Sixth Volume. ASTM STP 1317. Dwyer FJ, Doane TR, Hinman ML (eds), American Society for Testing and Materials, pp. 197–223, 1997.

Simini M, Wentsel RS, Checkai RT, Phillips CT, Chester NA, Major MA, Amos JC. Toxicity testing of soils from Joliet Army Ammunition Plant. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 1995; 14(4):623–630.

Prior Experience

National Program Director, Contaminated Sites/Resource Conservation in EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) US EPA, 2005–2011

Chief, Ecological and Health Processes Branch, Health and Ecological Criteria Division, Office of Science and Technology, Office of Water, US EPA, 2004–2005

Media Manager for Waste Research Program, Office of Science Policy (OSP), ORD, US EPA, 2000–2004

Acting Chief for Effects Identification and Characterization Group, NCEA Washington Division, ORD, US EPA, 1999–2000

Senior Ecologist, NCEA Washington Division IO, US EPA, Washington DC, 1998–2000

Chief Scientist, Environment, and Leader of Environmental Technology Team, Research and Technology Directorate, US Army Edgewood Research, Development and Engineering Center (ERDEC), Aberdeen Proving Ground, 1995–1998

Team Leader, Research and Technology Directorate, ERDEC US Army and matrixed (30%) to White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, 1994–1995

Science Fellow (SETAC), U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Washington, D.C., 1993–1994

Chief, Environmental Toxicology Branch, Life Sciences Dept., Research Directorate, US Army ERDEC, 1991–1994

Professional Affiliations

Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC)

  • Treasurer, 1998–2001
  • Member, Executive Committee, 1998–2001
  • Member, International Council, 1998–2001
  • Member, Board of Directors, 1996–2001
  • SETAC Annual Meeting Program Chair

Society for Risk Analysis

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