Bioaccessibility of metals in alloys: evaluation of three surrogate biofluids

Environ Pollut. 2014 Feb;185:52-8. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2013.10.006. Epub 2013 Nov 8.


Bioaccessibility in vitro tests measure the solubility of materials in surrogate biofluids. However, the lack of uniform methods and the effects of variable test parameters on material solubility limit interpretation. One aim of this study was to measure and compare bioaccessibility of selected economically important alloys and metals in surrogate physiologically based biofluids representing oral, inhalation and dermal exposures. A second aim was to experimentally test different biofluid formulations and residence times in vitro. A third aim was evaluation of dissolution behavior of alloys with in vitro lung and dermal biofluid surrogates. This study evaluated the bioaccessibility of sixteen elements in six alloys and 3 elemental/metal powders. We found that the alloys/metals, the chemical properties of the surrogate fluid, and residence time all had major impacts on metal solubility. The large variability of bioaccessibility indicates the relevancy of assessing alloys as toxicologically distinct relative to individual metals.

Keywords: Alloy dissolution; Bio-elution; Bioavailable; Biological monitoring; Dust exposure; In vitro; Occupational hazard; Residence time; Stainless steel.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alloys / chemistry*
  • Alloys / metabolism
  • Body Fluids / metabolism*
  • Hazardous Substances / analysis*
  • Hazardous Substances / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Metals / analysis*
  • Metals / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Chemical
  • Solubility


  • Alloys
  • Hazardous Substances
  • Metals