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Persistent Organic Pollutants

FAQs

2. Why should we be concerned about POPs?

POPs are highly toxic chemicals that are harmful to human health and the environment. They may cause cancer, damage to the nervous system, reproductive disorders or disruption of the immune system. Such harmful effects depend on the dose, duration and frequency of exposure and when the exposure occurs.

POPs released to the environment (air, water, sediment, soil or vegetation) can stay for years or even decades without breaking down into less toxic forms. They may be ingested by terrestrial or aquatic organisms and accumulate in the human body to harmful levels through the food chain. POPs in the environment can circulate globally through a repeated (and often seasonal) process of "evaporation and deposition", commonly known as the "grasshopper effect". Therefore, POPs released in one part of the world can be transported over long distances, causing harmful effects to people and the wildlife in regions far away from their origin of production.

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User review date: 
Wednesday, 15 July, 2015