European Commission Endorses Use of User-Friendly Biotic Ligand Models

Copper is naturally present in the aquatic environment, but can also be released to it as a consequence of industrial manufacturing, consumer use and recycling. In Europe, the risks posed by copper to the aquatic environment are managed by legislation including REACH and the Water Framework Directive.

Accounting for the bioavailability of copper, using techniques such as the Biotic Ligand Model (BLM), resolves many of the difficulties.

The European Commission published in the Issue 441 (January 2016) of its series on Science for Environment Policy an article on “Advances in freshwater risk assessment: experiences with Biotic Ligand Models”. While Biotic Ligand Models (BLM) have been accepted in the past by the European Commission, this new endorsement of user-friendly BLMs is welcome by the ECI, as it shows the benefits of using such models in regulatory risk assessment.

“To assess the risk posed by metals in the aquatic environment, Biotic Ligand Models (BLMs) were developed, and are now considered suitable for use in regulatory risk assessments. This study reviews the advantages of BLMs and BLM-based software tools, providing examples from across the EU, and offers recommendations for their widespread implementation”, according to the EC’s article.

Furthermore, ECI is supporting the use of, an user-friendly free online resource for anybody interested in using bioavailability-based approaches for assessing the risk of copper in the freshwater aquatic environment, particularly within the EU Water Framework Directive. This is a collaborative initiative led by the European Copper InstituteInternational Zinc Association and the Nickel Producers Environmental Research Association (NiPERA). is intended as a one-stop shop of information, software and guidance and is currently focused on copper, nickel and zinc