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Environmental fate & pathways

Bioaccumulation: terrestrial

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Description of key information

Median BAF observed on earthworms is 15 (expressed on a dry weight basis). For arthropoda, the median BAF is 1.4 (summary from the EU risk assessment, ECB 2008). The BAF observed in Cd-contaminated or Cd-enriched soils is lower than the BAF observed in control soils.  In a field study, the BAF observed under contaminated conditions on Lumbricus rubellus was 12-123, under control conditions it was 190.

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Additional information

The EU Risk assessment (ECB 2008) presents BAF values that were calculated from the soil:biota concentration ratio’s. Most organisms are earthworms and the Cd levels were expressed on dry or wet weight basis. All the data on earthworms were obtained from specimens with guts voided prior to analysis.

Cadmium is concentrated from the soil into earthworms organisms (BAF values are all higher than 1). Most important factors affecting the bioaccumulation of Cd by earthworms are the Cd concentration of the soil, soil type, pH, soil organic matter and CEC.

The influence of the Cd content of the soil on the bioaccumulation of Cd is illustrated in most of the studies. Cadmium concentrations in earthworms increase with increasing Cd levels in a non-proportional way. As a result, the BAF observed in Cd-contaminated or Cd-enriched soils is lower than the BAF observed in control soils.