Bioavailability

Some compounds with passage of time may become less available for biodegradation. The compound may also become unavailable when it undergoes changes and is bound to animate and inanimate surfaces and other residues. This is particularly true in the aquatic environment. Pictures of dead fish and seagulls soaked in spilled oil are a vivid reminder of such hazards. In some cases, alternate strategies such as the separation and/or extraction of toxic compounds from soil water and sediments have been developed for minimally available toxic compounds. However, such procedures have limitations and a narrow window of operation. Such procedures are also cumbersome and quite expensive, and have been applied with a limited success, particularly for cleaning and/or containment of spilled petrochemicals in coastal waters and sediments. Only limited progress has been made with the implementation of bioavailability parameters into risk assessment schemes and risk management strategies.

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