Science Inventory

Article "403. Toxicology of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)"


Kodavanti, P., S. Krothapalli, AND J. Royland. Article "403. Toxicology of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)". Edition 3, Chapter 1, Bio Medical Research. ELSEVIER, AMSTERDAM, Holland, 1:1-9, (2014).


This chapter introduces the family of environmental chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs), which include pesticides (e.g. Aldrin), some intentionally produced industrial chemicals (e.g. PCBs) and some unintentional byproducts created during manufacture of industrial chemicals (e.g. dioxins). They are characterized by their long half-life in the environment or tissues, the tendency to be transported over long distances and their ability to bioaccumulate in living organisms. Together these traits lead to wide ranging exposure potential and increasing concentrations of these compounds up the food chain (biomagnification), amplifying their toxicity, and the potential for adverse outcomes.


Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are all synthetic chemicals, either intentionally or unintentionally produced/released. Some POPs are pesticides. Others are industrial products or unintended by-products resulting from industrial processes or combustions (see figure 1). POPs remain in the environment for extended periods of time, taking decades or even centuries to be degraded. Several factors can contribute to a compound’s persistence in the ecosystem. For example, chemicals are often degraded by ultraviolet light (UV) from the sun or oxidized in the atmosphere. POPs resist degradation through these natural processes and can become concentrated in sediment, water or air. They can be volatile (i.e. can vaporize in the air) or travel by water currents through the process of evaporation and re-deposition. These traits allow POPs to be transported over long distances, far from the original source of contamination. One of the main characteristics of POPs is that they build up in fatty tissue of living organisms, with serious consequences for humans and wildlife. If tested for, POPs almost always will be found in tissue or environmental samples from almost every region of the world.


TAD-13-042-SYNOPSIS.PDF   (PDF, NA pp,  103.55 KB,  about PDF)

Record Details:

Product Published Date: 12/01/2014
Record Last Revised: 05/12/2015
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 307947