Expanding Ecotoxicology to Enhance the Health of the Biosphere

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National Academy of Sciences


The waste, or output, of most species serves as a resource, or input, for other species. This mutualistic process can be disrupted if the output, or waste, exceeds the assimilative capacity of the species in the biosphere. In ecotoxicology, the primary goal is to cease production of chemical substances that cannot serve as useful inputs, or resources, for the biosphere. Once ecotoxicologists eliminate discharges of harmful anthropogenic waste, their new responsibility will be to convert any waste into beneficial inputs, or resources, to the biosphere. Currently, humans anthropogenic waste is damaging the biosphere. In order to convert anthropogenic wastes from hazardous outputs to beneficial inputs, the following steps must be made: 1) humans must cease production of products harmful to the biosphere and 2) examine each production process to eliminate harmful byproducts and replace them with byproducts that will benefit the biosphere.



ecotoxicology, anthropogenic waste, resources, outputs and inputs