The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Emergency Response Division (ERD) responds annually to chemical spills in aquatic environments on behalf of the United States Coast Guard. In response to increasing need of rapid and accurate environmental assessments of chemical spills, with technical assistance from RPI, ERD has developed the Chemical Aquatic Fate and Effects (CAFE) Database. CAFE (version 1.1) for Windows and Mac, which includes the database DTox developed by RPI, has now been made available, free of charge, to the larger scientific community and the public through NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration website at http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/cafe.
In CAFE, data are integrated into a user-friendly tool containing two primary modules: the fate module and effects module. The Aquatic Fate Module contains chemical specific information helpful in assessing the fate of chemicals in aquatic environments. The Aquatic Effects Module contains chemical, oil, dispersant, and chemically dispersed oil toxicity information helpful in assessing the potential effects of the spilled chemical on aquatic receptors. This module contains acute toxicity data which can be queried through different windows allowing for on-the-fly data searches and data plotting in the form of Species Sensitivity Distributions (SSDs).
This database serves as a tool to aid responders in their assessment of the environmental impacts from spills in situations where critical decisions need to be made within a few hours. CAFE has been successfully used as a one-stop source to: 1) understanding and predicting chemical behavior in aquatic environments; and 2) characterizing the risks of exposure and effects to aquatic communities via SSDs.
A short communication related to the release of CAFE was published in SETAC Globe (13 August 2015, Volume 16, Issue 8), the electronic newsletter of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). http://globe.setac.org/2015/august/chemical-aquatic-fate-database.html