This website is aimed at providing scientifically robust information about metal bioavailability and metal mixtures for users of all levels of background and experience. The website provides an animated video introduction to key concepts on metal bioavailability and metal mixtures, leading to fact sheets on topics such as metal bioavailability, metal mixture toxicity and modelling. More advanced users can directly access study reports and publications on metals bioavailability and mixtures to gain greater knowledge of the underpinning science.
Metals are present naturally in the environment and can be introduced through human activities such as the manufacture of metal goods, processing of metal ores and through a wide range of industrial and agricultural activities. Some metals are essential to plants and animals, but all metals are potentially toxic at high enough doses.
Nevertheless, it is not the total amount of metal present in, for example a river or stream, that is most important, as some of the metal will be bound to dissolved organic carbon and other ions. The remaining fraction of total metal that actually interacts with aquatic organisms is called the bioavailable metal. In the environment, metals do not often occur singly, but as mixtures. Therefore, in order to be able to begin to fully understand the ecological effects of metals in the environment we must look at mixtures.