There is no doubt that human activities since the Anthropocene are mainly responsible for increased concentrations of many chemicals in biological tissues around the globe. As anthropogenic emissions are increasingly placed under control, we propose that the global cycle of a contaminant may pass a turning point beyond which biogeochemical processes emerge as the major driver for bioaccumulation. We further propose that during a rapidly changing climate, emission control of some contaminants may be followed by long delays before ensuing reduction is seen in food-web contaminant levels. Delayed response would occur particularly for those chemicals that are prone to biomagnification in food webs and are archived in large quantities in reservoirs with long residence times, such as global soils and oceans. This response lag makes it all the more urgent to reduce or halt further loading of certain types of chemicals into these key environmental reservoirs.
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