Biological tests are officially taken into account by the implementation strategies of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD).
In the “Common Implementation Strategies”, they are recognised as particularly suitable for:
- The early detection of biological disturbances
- Linking chemical and ecological measurements
- Establishing a dose/exposure/response relationship
- Establishing an early warning system
- Updating risk assessments.
More generally, biological tests make it possible to detect black spots that call for a more thorough monitoring, improvement of assessment quality and the need to take into account the risk of cumulative effects known as the "cocktail effect”.
Methods that measure biological effects must be part of the decision-making process and the operational framework for achieving the “good ecological status” of inland and coastal bodies of water. This is the legal obligation of the WFD.
At the same time, France has chosen to adopt a reinforced approach by initiating many Research Programs on Dangerous Substances in Water (Recherche des Substances Dangereuses dans l’Eau - RSDE).