Incorporating Information on Bioavailability of Soil-Borne Chemicals into Human Health Risk Assessments
Definition of the term bioavailability varies in the environmental sciences. In human health risk assessment, bioavailability is defined as the fraction of the dose of chemical delivered that is absorbed into the systemic circulation. Bioavailability can be expressed as either absolute or relative bioavailability, and both are important in calculating risks from contaminants in soils. Bioavailability of chemicals is addressed in all risk assessments, although not always in a transparent manner. Because data on bioavailability are limited, approximations and assumptions regarding chemical uptake are extensively used. The risk assessment process could benefit from new information on the bioavailability of chemicals, but there are important questions about the best means to develop this information and how it should be used. To foster discussion on these issues, three articles are presented in this issue of the journal offering different perspectives on bioavailability method development, validation, and use.
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