Assessing Bioaccumulation Factors of Persistent Organic Pollutants in Aquatic Food-Chains

  • Frank A P C Gobas


As part of the Toxic Substances Management Policy (TSMP) under the revised, but not yet promulgated, Canadian Environmental Protection Act in Canada, the Waste Minimization Prioritization process of the USEPA and the Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP) Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) of the United Nations Environment Program, large numbers of chemical substances (e.g. approximately 22,500 chemicals used or imported in Canada that are currently on Canada’s Domestic Substances List) are to be evaluated for their potential impact on the environment. This evaluation process involves the assessment of the toxicity, bioaccumulation and persistence of the chemical and a comparison of the assessed values to a set of standard criteria. The bioaccumulation criteria identified in the TSMP state that if the Bioconcentration Factor (BCF) or Bioaccumulation Factor (BAF) exceeds 5,000 or the logarithm of the octanol-water partition coefficient (log Kow) of the chemical substance exceeds 5, the bioaccumulation criterion is exceeded. If the criteria for bioaccumulation, inherent toxicity and persistence are all exceeded, man-made chemical substances are being further evaluated in a screening level risk assessment with the purpose to consider the chemical substance for virtual elimination.


Chemical Substance Persistent Organic Pollutant Chemical Concentration Bioconcentration Factor Bioaccumulation Factor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. American Standards for Testing and Materials (1988). Standard practice for conducting bioconcentration tests with fishes and saltwater bivalve molluscs. E 1022 - 84. Annual Book of ASTM Standards.Google Scholar
  2. Bintein S, Devillers J, Karcher W (1993). Non-linear dependence offish bioconcentration on n-octanol/water partition coefficients. Environ. Res., 1: 29–39.Google Scholar
  3. Campfens J (1997). Fugacity-based model of PCB bioaccumulation in complex aquatic food webs. Environ. Sci. Technol.,31: 577–583.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Connell D W (1990). Bioaccumulation of xenobiotic compounds. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, ISBN 0-8493-4810-2, p. 118.Google Scholar
  5. Flint R W (1986). Hypothesized carbon flow through the deep water Lake Ontario food web. J. Great Lakes. Res. 12: 344–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Geyer H, Politzki G, Freitag D (1984). Prediction of ecotoxicological behaviour of chemicals: relationship between n-octanol-water partition coefficient and bioaccumulation of organic chemicals by alga Chlorella. Chemosphere, 13: 269–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gobas F A P C (1993). A model for predicting the bioaccumulation of hydrophobic organic chemicals in aquatic food-webs: application to Lake Ontario. Ecol. Modelling, 69: 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gobas F A P C, Morrison H A (1999). Bioconcentration & Bioaccumulation in the Aquatic Environment. In: “Handbook for Environmental Properties” (Boethling R. and Mackay, D. eds.)., CRC Press, in press.Google Scholar
  9. Gobas F A P C, Mackay D (1987). Dynamics of Hydrophobic Organic Chemical Bioconcentration in Fish. Environ. Toxicol. Chem., 6: 495–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gobas F A P C, Zhang X (1992). Measuring bioconcentration factors and rate constants of chemicals in aquatic organisms under conditions of variable water concentrations and short exposure time. Chemosphere, 25: 1961–1971.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gobas F A P C, Clark K E, Shiu W Y, Mackay D (1989). Bioconcentration of Polybrominated Benzenes and Biphenyls and Related Superhydrophobic Chemicals in Fish: Role of Bioavailability and Faecal Elimination. Environ. Toxicol. Chem., 8: 231–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gobas F A P C, Pasternak J P, Lien K, Duncan R K (1998). Development & Field-Validation of a multi-media exposure assessment model for waste load allocation in aquatic ecosystems: application to TCDD and TCDF in the Fraser River Watershed. Environ. Sci. Technol., 32:2442–2449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hamelink J L, Waybrandt R C, Ball R C (1971). Proposal: Exchange equilibriums control the degree chlorinated hydrocarbons are biologically magnified in lentic environments. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc., 100: 207–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hawker D W, Connell D W (1988). Octanol-water partition coefficients of polychlorinated biphenyl congeners. Environ. Sci. Technol., 22: 382–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Landrum P F, Nihart S R, Eadie B J, Gardner W S (1984). Reverse-phase separation method for determining pollutant binding to Aldrich humic acid and dissolved organic carbon of natural waters. Environ. Sci. Technol., 18: 187–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Law F C P, Abedini S, Kennedy C J (1991). A biologically based toxicokinetic model for pyrene in rainbow trout. Toxicol App. Pharmacol., 110: 390–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mackay D (1982). Correlation of Bioconcentration Factors. Environ. Sci. Technol., 16: 274–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mackay D, Shiu W Y, Ma K C (1992). Illustrated Handbook of Physical-Chemical Properties and Environmental Fate for Organic Chemicals. Vol. 1. Lewis Publishers. Chelsea, MI.Google Scholar
  19. Meylan W M, Howard P H, Boethling R S, Aronson D, Printup H, Gouchie S (1999). Improved Method for Estimating Bioconcentration/Bioaccumulation Factor from Octanol/Water Partition Coefficient. Environ. Toxicol. Chem., 18: 664–672.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Morrison H A, Gobas F A P C, Lazar R, Whittle, D M, Haffner G D (1997). Development and Verification of a Food-Chain Bioaccumulation Model for Western Lake Erie. Environ. Sci. Technol., 31: 3267–3273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nichols J W, McKim J M, Andersen M E, Gargas M L, Clewell H J, Erickson R J (1990). A physiology based toxicokinetic model for the uptake and disposition of waterborne organic chemicals in fish. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol., 106: 433–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Oliver B G, Niimi A J (1988). Trophodynamic analysis of polychlorinated biphenyl congeners and other chlorinated hydrocarbons in the Lake Ontario ecosystem. Environ. Sci.Technol., 22: 388–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (1996). Bioaccumulation: Flow-through Fish Test, 305 E. OECD Guideline for Testing Chemicals.Google Scholar
  24. Spacie A, Hamelink J L (1982). Alternative models for describing the bioconcentration of organics in fish. Environ. Toxicol. Chem., 1: 309–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sproule J W, Shiu W Y, Mackay D, Schroeder W H, Russell R W, Gobas F A P C (1991). In-Situ Measurement of the Truly Dissolved Concentration of Hydrophobic Chemicals in Natural Waters. Environ. Toxicol Chem., 10: 9–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Thomann R V (1989). Bioaccumulation model of organic chemical distribution in aquatic food chains. Environ. Sci. Technol., 23: 699–707.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Thomann R V, Connolly J P, Parkerton T F (1992). An equilibrium model of organic chemical accumulation in aquatic food webs with sediment interaction. Environ. Toxicol Chem., 11: 615–629.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. U.S. EPA (1995). Great Lakes Water Quality Initiative Technical Support Document for the Procedure to Determine Bioaccumulation Factors. EPA-820-B-95-005. Veith G DGoogle Scholar
  29. Kosian P (1983). Estimating bioconcentration potential from octanol/water partition coefficients. In: “Physical behaviour of PCBs in the Great Lakes” (Mackay, D., Paterson, S.,  Eisenreich S.J., Simons M.S. eds.)., Ann Arbor Sciences Publishers, Ann Arbor, pp. 269–282.Google Scholar
  30. Veith G D, Defoe D L, Bergstaedt B V (1979). Measuring and estimating the bioconcentration factor of chemicals in fish. J. Fish. Res. Board Can., 36: 1040–1048.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Yin C, Hassett J P (1986). Gas-partitioning approach for laboratory and field studies of mirex fiigacity in water. Environ. Sci. Technol., 20: 1213–1217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank A P C Gobas

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations