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Use of the bioaccumulation factor to screen chemicals for bioaccumulation potential



The fish bioconcentration factor (BCF), as calculated from controlled laboratory tests, is commonly used in chemical management programs to screen chemicals for bioaccumulation potential. The bioaccumulation factor (BAF), as calculated from field-caught fish, is more ecologically relevant because it accounts for dietary, respiratory, and dermal exposures. The BCFBAF™ program in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Estimation Programs Interface Suite (EPI Suite™ Ver 4.10) screening-level tool includes the Arnot-Gobas quantitative structure–activity relationship model to estimate BAFs for organic chemicals in fish. Bioaccumulation factors can be greater than BCFs, suggesting that using the BAF rather than the BCF for screening bioaccumulation potential could have regulatory and resource implications for chemical assessment programs. To evaluate these potential implications, BCFBAF was used to calculate BAFs and BCFs for 6,034 U.S. high- and medium-production volume chemicals. The results indicate no change in the bioaccumulation rating for 86% of these chemicals, with 3% receiving lower and 11% receiving higher bioaccumulation ratings when using the BAF rather than the BCF. All chemicals that received higher bioaccumulation ratings had log KOW values greater than 4.02, in which a chemical's BAF was more representative of field-based bioaccumulation than its BCF. Similar results were obtained for 374 new chemicals. Screening based on BAFs provides ecologically relevant results without a substantial increase in resources needed for assessments or the number of chemicals screened as being of concern for bioaccumulation potential. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2012; 31: 2261–2268. © 2012 SETAC