The organic chemical industry, in the space of half a century, has produced millions of tons of persistent carbon-based compounds which can now be found in every part of the globe and in the body fat of every living creature. These compounds can be either intentionally released products (such as DDT), or unintentionally released as industrial chemical by-products (such as the dioxin-like substances). The majority of the dioxins and furans that have been introduced into the environment have come about as a result of the incineration of municipal and clinical waste, which contains high levels of halogenated compounds and heavy metals. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are lipophilic and difficult to metabolise, and therefore they bioconcentrate in the body over time and biomagnify up the food web.Recent research has shown for some POPs, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxin-like substances, that human body burdens in a proportion of the populations of developed countries are already too high for the safety of the next generations. Adverse effects on the intelligence, immune status and hormonal balance of infants born to mothers with the highest body burdens have been measured.Thus there is an urgent requirement for the elimination of the most problematic persistent substances, or their precursors, from the waste stream and hence the biosphere. There are some interesting developments in the field of biodegradable polymers, research into which need to be both supported and extended.The aim of this chapter is to provide the reader with an overview of the origins of and contributors to global persistent organic pollution so that they can then set the rest of the information in this book in context. In addition the reader should be better able to critically weigh the evidence produced by contributors to this book from various sides of the argument.
Weitere Kapitel dieses Buchs durch Wischen aufrufen
- Persistent Organic Chemical Pollution: An Introduction
C. V. Howard
G. Staats De Yanes
- Springer Netherlands
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