In a regulatory context, bioaccumulation or bioconcentration factors are used for considering secondary poisoning potential and assessing risks to human health via the food chain. In this paper, literature data on the bioaccumulation of molybdenum in the aquatic organisms are reviewed and assessed for relevance and reliability. The data available in the literature were generated at exposure concentrations below those recommended in the REACH registration dossiers for molybdenum compounds i.e. PNEC(freshwater) 12.7 mg Mo/L. To address possible environmental concerns at regulatorily-relevant molybdenum concentrations, both a field study and a laboratory study were conducted. In the field study, whole body and organ-specific molybdenum levels were evaluated in fish (eel, stickleback, perch, carp bream, roach) held in the discharge water collector tanks of a molybdenum processing plant, containing a mean measured molybdenum level of 1.03 mg Mo/L. In the laboratory study, rainbow trout were exposed to two different nominal molybdenum levels (1.0 and 12.7 mg Mo/L), for 60 days followed by a 60-day depuration period. Whole body concentrations in rainbow trout during the exposure period were between <0.20 and 0.53 mg Mo/L. Muscle tissue molybdenum concentrations in fish taken from both experiments remained below 0.2mg/kg dry wt. These studies show an inverse relationship between exposure concentration and bioconcentration or bioaccumulation factor for molybdenum. In aquatic organisms, and in fish in particular, internal molybdenum concentrations are maintained in the presence of variation in external molybdenum concentrations. These observations must be considered when evaluating potential risks associated with the bioconcentration and/or bioaccumulation of molybdenum in the aquatic environment.
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