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Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)

Related Terms

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Background

  • Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are toxic chemicals that have a worldwide impact on human health and the environment. Since POPs may spread by wind and water, it is possible for them to affect humans and wildlife that are located far from the original source.
  • The 12 key POPs are collectively known as the "Dirty Dozen." Aldrin, chlordane, dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane (DDT), dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, mirex, and toxaphene were first widely used as insecticides. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, and polychlorinated dibenzofurans were commonly-released industrial byproducts.
  • Many POPs are currently banned in the United States and other countries due to their harmful side effects in humans. Some of these side effects may include reproductive problems, kidney and liver damage, increased blood pressure, convulsions, and cancer. In some cases, the absorption or ingestion of some POPs may result in death.
  • The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, first held by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2001, developed guidelines for the use of key POPs in order to protect human health around the world. This international agreement took effect in May 2004; it provided the groundwork for enhanced monitoring, POPs evaluation, research, and worldwide collaboration for the 163 member parties (countries).

Technique

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Theory/Evidence

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Health Impact/Safety

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Future Research or Applications

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.