Aquatic sediments cover a large part of earth’s surface (74.5%) and are crucial for the functioning of aquatic ecosystems. Man-made toxic chemicals may negatively affect these functions. It is thus important to define a transparent and targeted environmental risk assessment to assure that these chemicals do not cause unacceptable effects in the environment. Current approaches to assess the risk of sediment-bound organic chemicals on sediment flora, fauna and microorganisms in freshwater, estuarine and marine aquatic systems are fragmentary and diverse. This study contributes to the development of a transparent and holistic environmental risk assessment approach for organic chemicals in sediment that is based on mechanistic understanding and that combines experimental work and models using smart and cost-effective prospective tools.