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Exposure factor for metals

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Bastis's picture
Exposure factor for metals


I'm working on metals (e.g. Cu) and I'm interested in the ecotoxicology part of USEtox. Am I understanding things correctly when I think that the exposure factor (XF) is not designed to properly estimate the bioavailible fraction of a metal (since the estimating the bioavilible fraction of metals you need more parameters than those used for calculating XF)? Moreover, I have read the papers from Ganhi et al. who added a bioavilibility factor designed for metals to take bioavilibility for metals into account for USEtox: 

Gandhi et al, Int J Life Cycle Assess (2011) 16:774–787

Gandhi et al, Environ. Sci. Technol. 2010, 44, 5195–5201

Are there any plans for an updated version of USEtox e.g. incorporating the results quoted above? Or is this version in the quoted articles availible anywhere? 


Best Regards,


USEtox Team
USEtox Team's picture
Ecotoxicity exposure factors for metals

Thank you for your question!

For metals, the fate factor (FF), exposure factor (XF, also called BF in Gandhi et al.) and effect factor (EF) are all affected by speciation of the metal in the environment, not only the BF.

There is another publication from Owsianiak et al. (2013) that deals with the comparative toxic potentials (CTPs) for Cu in the terrestrial environment and another publication from Gandhi et al. (2011) that show s the influence of differences in landscape parameters on the CTPs of metals, including Cu.

There are plans for updating USEtox on the metals, but it is not settled when exactly. In the meantime, we recommend to use the CTPs from Gandhi and Owsianiak instead of the USEtox defaults for research purposes.