A strategy for the control of environmental pollution should be based on three fundamental steps: a- assessment of the environmental aspects of the problem (exposure to pollutant chemicals, damages to man and the environment, etc ); b- economic evaluation (costs and benefits from chemical usage, evaluation of damages, etc ); c- institutional aspects (adoption of environmental standards, regulations, etc. ). Thus, an efficient collaboration between environmental and social sciences is of paramount importance in environmental decision making. To reach this objective it is essential to know exactly what kind of information can be produced by each science.
In this paper an integrated ecotoxicological approach, able to produce descriptive as well predictive results, is presented. Its application to an exercise of collaboration between ecotoxicology and socio-economical sciences is discussed. From this point of view, the case history of herbicide contamination of groundwater in Italy is described.