Oil Toxicity Modeling

Oil spill pollution in river environment

We help clients understand the oil toxicity and toxic threat of petroleum releases resulting from oil spills

Exponent consultants use the target lipid model (TLM) used by the EPA to evaluate oil toxicity and associated hazards of petroleum releases in aquatic systems to assist clients in making informed decisions and proactive responses during catastrophic oil spill accidents.

How do Exponent's multidisciplinary oil toxicity evaluations help clients involved in oil releases?

Although oil is a natural material seeping into the ocean through regular environmental processes, excessive oil release created through human-initiated accidents can become a toxic environmental threat.

Exponent's team of environmental scientists and chemical engineers understand the key factors that control the bioavailability and toxicity of oil's complex mixture of hydrocarbons in the aquatic and terrestrial environments. Our teams interpret the results of laboratory toxicity tests and extrapolate this information to field conditions to predict the toxicity of petroleum hydrocarbons. Our depth of experience and application of these models makes us uniquely able to help clients address current issues on the environmental effects of petroleum releases.


For 50+ years, we've thrived on solving unstructured problems that require bespoke solutions. Some of our services include:

  • Our consultants use the target lipid model, which is used by the Environmental Protection Agency and other regulatory agencies to predict the toxicity of individual petroleum hydrocarbons and derive threshold values for oil
  • Exponent uses these models to demonstrate the effect of weathering, the impact of oil droplets, and the effect of dispersants on the toxicity of oil in the environment

Our Capabilities Are Unparalleled

With expertise in over 90 disciplines and hundreds of capabilities, tools, and methodologies — we get to the root of even the most complex challenges and give you the objective answers you need.