A study has found that biotransformation, or the process by which organisms absorb and metabolize pollutant particles, is a bigger factor than hydrophobicity in assessing a chemical's potential to accumulate and cause harm in human bodies. This study is a "wake-up call" for regulators, whose reliance on hydrophobicity may have led some chemicals to be wrongly classified as toxic, said Don MacKay, an environmental chemist at Canada's Trent University.

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