Environmental Stressors

Environmental factors such as pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, salinity, and additional toxicants are always important considerations when characterizing bioaccumulation and toxicity. Most of these environmental variables will affect the rates of uptake and elimination (toxicokinetics) of a toxicant, which can greatly affect the amount accumulated and the resulting toxic response. Additionally, even when two individuals contain equal concentrations of a toxicant in their tissues, many of these environmental factors can affect the potency (toxicody-namics) of the compound by one of several actions, such as altering biochemical rates or changing membrane permeability. Additionally, these parameters can affect the organism's sensitivity. For example, if a species is expending additional energy to osmoregulate in an environment that is outside its normal range of salinity, the additional stress invoked by the toxicant may affect energy-generating pathways that will certainly exacerbate the organism's ability to maintain homeostasis.

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