Bioavailability has been used as a key indicator in chemical risk assessment yet poorly quantified risk factor. Worldwide, the framework used to assess potentially contaminated sites is similar, and the decisions are based on threshold contaminant concentration. The uncertainty in the definition and measurement of bioavailability had limited its application to environment risk assessment and remediation. Last ten years have seen major developments in bioavailability research and acceptance. The use of bioavailability in the decision making process as one of the key variables has led to a gradual shift towards a more sophisticated risk-based approach. Now a days, many decision makers and regulatory organisations ‘more readily accept’ this concept. Bioavailability should be the underlying basis for risk assessment and setting remediation goals of those contaminated sites that pose risk to environmental and human health. This paper summarises the potential application of contaminant bioavailability and bioaccessibility to the assessment of sites affected by different contaminants, and the potential for this to be the underlying basis for sustainable risk assessment and remediation in Europe, North America and Australia over the coming decade.
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