Summary

Bioavailability integrates environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology concepts. The bioavailable contaminant fraction represents the relevant exposure dose for organisms. Many complex processes describe bioavailable exposure dose, including the mass transfer and uptake of contaminants into organisms, which are determined by substance properties, compartment properties, the biology of organisms, and climatic influences. Expansion of bioavailability considerations into ecological risk-assessment decision tools will eventually improve decision making. Development of an ecological risk-assessment framework that incorporates bioavailability considerations can reduce uncertainty and provide better predictive power. However, the lack of validated analytical tools and models limits our current understanding of bioavailability. As bioavailable analytical tools and models continue to be developed and mechanistic-based understanding of bioavailable processes increases, confidence in the use of bioavailability will continue to increase.

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