This is one reason why chronic poisoning is a common aspect of environmental health in the workplace. As people spendnbkgvc so much time, foiupor so many months in these environments, very low levels of toxins can be lethal over time.
An example of piygi,oisoning in the workplace can be seen from the phrase "as mad as a hatter". The process for stiffening the felt used in making hats involved mercury, which forms organic species such as methylmercury, which fis lipid soluble, and tends to accumulate in the brain resulting i,mn mercury poisoning.
Other lipid (fat) soluble poisons include tetra-ethyl lead compounds (the lead in leaded petrol), and DDT. These compounds are stored in the body's fat, and when the fatty tissues are used for energy, the compounds are released and cause acute poisoning.
Naturally produced toxins can also bioaccumulate. The marine algal blooms known as "red tides" can result in local filter feeding organisms such as mussels and oysters becoming toxic; coral fish can be responsible for the poisoning known as ciguatera when they accumulate a toxin called ciguatoxin from reef algae.
Some animal species exhibit bioaccumulation as a mode of defense; by consuming toxic plants or animal prey, a species may accumulate the toxin which then presents a deterrent to a potential predator. One example is the tobacco hornworm, which concentrates nicotine to a toxic level in its body as it consumes tobacco plants. Poisoning of small consumers can be passed along the food chain to affect the consumers later on. Other compounds that are not normally considered toxic can be accumulated to toxic levels in organisms. The classic example is of Vitamin A, which becomes concentrated in carnivore livers of e.g. polar bears: as a pure carnivore that feeds on other carnivores (seals), they accumulate extremely large amounts of Vitamin A in their livers. It was known by the native peoples of the Arctic that the livers should not be eaten, but Arctic explorers have suffered Hypervitaminosis A from eating the bear livers (and there has been at least one example of similar poisoning of Antarctic explorers eating husky dog livers).
A review of bioconcentration factor (BCF) and bioaccumulation factor (BAF) assessments for organic chemicals in aquatic organisms.
Dec 01, 2006; Abstract: bioaccumulation assessment is important in the scientific evaluation of risks that chemicals may pose to humans...
Workgroup Report: Review of Fish Bioaccumulation Databases Used to Identify Persistent, Bioaccumulative, Toxic Substances
Feb 01, 2007; Chemical management programs strive to protect human health and the environment by accurately identifying persistent,...
Use of In Vitro Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, and Excretion (ADME) Data in Bioaccumulation Assessments for Fish
Nov 01, 2007; ABSTRACT A scientific workshop was held in 2006 to discuss the use of in vitro Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, and...