Earthworms take up chemicals from both soil pore water and food, but the quantitative contribution of each route is unclear. In this paper, a model is presented for the accumulation of organic chemicals in earthworms, including a compartment for the gut contents. A Monte Carlo screening method is used to calibrate the model simultaneously to four experimental data sets for hexachlorobenzene (HCB) in the compost worm (Eisenia andrei). The calibration procedure shows that the dominant route of exposure is across the gut wall. Nevertheless, predicted body residues of HCB are generally no more than 20% higher than the estimate based on equilibrium partitioning (EP), independent of the uncertainties in all of the model parameters. The deviation from EP is mainly related to the digestive efficiency of the earthworm. Body residues are not expected to exceed the EP estimate by more than 50% for other chemicals or other earthworm species. The model is particularly useful when the organism's food source is specifically contaminated and EP cannot be applied. © 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.