The behavior of environmental contaminants in fish was examined using information from chemical, toxicological, and physiological laboratory studies, and field residue measurements to establish the relative importance of the bioconcentration and biomagnification pathways, and environmental concentrations on residue accumulation in natural ecosystems. It is suggested that indices such as the bioconcentration factor (BCF) and octanol-water partition coefficient (Kow) can be effectively used to analyze the fate of contaminants in natural ecosystems provided their limitations are recognized. It is proposed that other indices like the bioaccumulation factor (BAF) and biological half-life could also be used for evaluation. A simulation of the contaminant dynamics of a salmonid is presented, and the kinetics are used to illustrate the differences in behavior of the more environmentally relevant organic contaminants present in the Lake Ontario environment.

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