At seriously contaminated sites remediation or other soil management decisions are required if the risks cannot be neglected based on a site specific ecological and human risk assessment and the chance for dispersion of the contaminants. Soil is an irreplaceable resource that sustains life on the planet challenged by food and energy demands of an increasing population therefore soil contamination constitutes a critical issue to be addressed if we are to secure the life quality of present and future generations integrated efforts from researchers and policy makers are required to develop sound risk assessment procedures . Many industrialized and developing countries are faced with the assessment of potential risks associated with contaminated land a variety of human activities have left their impacts on soils in the form of elevated and locally high concentrations of potential toxicants in several cases sources have not yet been stopped and contamination continues. In ecological risk assessment the effects of soil contamination on the ecosystem are related to the intended land use and the requirements that this use sets for properly functioning soil this document describes the basic steps relating to a coherent tool for a site specific risk assessment with opportunities to work out site specific details. Decisions on the management of contaminated sites and on the regulation of chemicals in the terrestrial environment require information on the extent to which toxicants adversely affect the life support function of soils ecological insights into the soil as an ecosystem may support such decisions
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