|Definition :||The storage of non-biodegradable chemicals (or slowly decaying ones) in the bodies of organisms.|
Toxic metals such as lead and mercury and pesticides such as DDT are absorbed more rapidly than they are able to leave the body. This results in bioaccumulation; toxins store up in the body.|
Toxins tend to store in fatty tissues, bones, and organs (kidneys, liver) and can cause death, prevent reproduction, or increase suceptibility to disease.
Food chains can increase the risk of bioaccumulation. This happens when an item at the bottom of the chain takes in toxins and is then eaten by other organisms who have also already taken in toxins. Organisms high on the food chain may end up accumulating large amounts of toxins.