In the framework of environmental multimedia modeling studies dedicated to environmental and health risk assessments of chemicals, the bioconcentration factor (BCF) is a parameter commonly used, especially for fish. As for neutral lipophilic substances, it is assumed that BCF is independent of exposure levels of the substances. However, for metals some studies found the inverse relationship between BCF values and aquatic exposure concentrations for various aquatic species and metals, and also high variability in BCF data. To deal with the factors determining BCF for metals, we conducted regression analyses to evaluate the inverse relationships and introduce the concept of probability density function (PDF) for Cd, Cu, Zn, Pb, and As. In the present study, for building the regression model and derive the PDF of fish BCF, two statistical approaches are applied: ordinary regression analysis to estimate a regression model that does not consider the variation in data across different fish family groups; and hierarchical Bayesian regression analysis to estimate fish group-specific regression models. The results show that the BCF ranges and PDFs estimated for metals by both statistical approaches have less uncertainty than the variation of collected BCF data (the uncertainty is reduced by 9%–61%), and thus such PDFs proved to be useful to obtain accurate model predictions for environmental and health risk assessment concerning metals. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2010;29:2417–2425. © 2010 SETAC
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