Bioavailability can form the basis for describing potential risks that contaminants pose to the environment and human health, and for determining remedial options to reduce risks of contaminant dispersal and toxicity. In assessments of polluted sites, methods to measure bioavailability can lead to a realistic appraisal of the potential risks from exposure to contaminants. For remediation purposes the application of the principles of bioavailability can result in practices that reduce bioavailability and consequently the risk of contaminants. Moreover the costs of remediation can be reduced. Examples from projects with organic contaminants (PAHs, pesticides and PFOS) and heavy metals in The Netherlands, Mali, Mauretania, Australia and Taiwan are presented. It is shown that using bioavailability principles in risk-based approaches is an attractive option in terms of both cost and in situ management of contaminated sites. Regulatory and public acceptance is, however, still the Achilles heel of these new remediation strategies.
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