We do not know enough about the potential toxicity of the existing chemicals or the thousands of new ones being annually produced: we cannot test their toxicity to all species and thus effects of chemicals thought to be safe are constantly surprising us (i.e., endocrine disruptors, microplastics, nanoparticles etc.). In the last two decades, pioneering ecosystem health approaches were applied on the basis of physicochemical, biological and ecological parameters indicative of ecosystem welfare/harm. Despide of the great conceptual difficulty to cover the journey between values of individual parameters and the integrative measure of ecosystem health, the conceptual framework that integrates Environmental Contamination and Toxicology provides concepts and methods that, establishing cause-effect relationships with reasonable certainty, may be useful to interpret cost/effective data indicative of the ecosystem health status, exactly like biomarkers and bioassays are currently used in biomedical research and medical practice.
Biomarkers, bioassays and biologically addressed analytical chemistry, in combination with supporting parameters, may offer a more updated tool set to predict the effects of chemicals in the environment (risk assessment) and to estimate their impact (impact assessment). Moreover, emerging molecular techniques, such as genomics and proteomics, are likely to provide new and cost effective tools (microarrays, RT-PCR, high throughput sequencing) for the monitoring of environment health and its disturbance by the presence of chemical pollutants (e.g. to establish Adverse Outcomes Pathways; AOPs).