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The compound bioaccumulates, working up through the food chain with highest concentrations in larger, older organisms.
Bacteria in the water convert elemental mercury into highly toxic methyl mercury, which then bioaccumulates in fish, particularly larger fish.
By the time methylmercury bioaccumulates up the food chain in large fish such as tuna, the presence of methylmercury could pose a serious threat to both animal and human health.
For example, in aquatic environments, the bacteria Geobacter sulfurreducens transforms the inorganic, less toxic form of mercury into an organic configuration called methyl mercury--a neurotoxin that bioaccumulates and can cross the blood-brain barrier.
Tributyltin and its relatives are highly toxic to mollusks, causing female snails to develop male sexual characteristics, and it bioaccumulates in fish and shellfish.
Cadmium is a known endocrine disruptor and often bioaccumulates within organisms having toxic side effects.
THE EUROPEAN Parliament has approved an import ban on mercury and tough restrictions on using this toxic metal, aimed at preventing its spread in the environment--particularly in water, where it bioaccumulates in fish and then humans.
When mercury from coal-fired power plants is emitted to the atmosphere, some deposits in water bodies, where it bioaccumulates in fish.
One of these forms, monomethyl mercury (MMHg), is a strong vertebrate neurotoxin that bioaccumulates through food webs.
Selenium, common in runoff from agricultural soil, can be toxic because it bioaccumulates in birds and fish interfering with reproduction and causing deformities.
Mercury is especially harmful because it builds up in the body, or bioaccumulates. Bioaccumulation occurs because organisms ingest mercury faster than their bodies can eliminate it, leading to toxic levels in the body.
Deltamethrin, a pyrethroid, bioaccumulates and is a suspected endocrine disruptor.