Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Low levels of persistent organic pollutants raise concerns for future generations
  1. G M Solomon1,
  2. A M Huddle2
  1. 1Natural Resources Defense Council, San Francisco, California, USA
  2. 2Strybing Arboretum Society, San Francisco, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Gina M Solomon, Natural Resources Defense Council, 71 Stevenson Street, Suite 1825, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA;


Bans and regulation in many countries have reduced the environmental levels of many persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Despite these declines, there is still evidence of exposures in a range associated with adverse health effects. This seeming paradox is a result of the realisation that levels once presumed safe can cause subtle but important health effects. For example, levels of PCBs now shown to affect human brain development are nearly one million-fold lower than levels previously believed safe. These findings add urgency to efforts to globally eliminate these chemicals, and carry lessons for persistent pollutants that are still in widespread use today, such as the polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and synthetic musks.

  • persistent organic pollutants
  • polybrominated diphenyl ethers
  • plastics
  • textiles
  • flame retardants
  • synthetic musks
  • POPs, persistent organic pollutants
  • PBDEs, polybrominated diphenyl ethers
  • PCBs, polychlorinated biphenyls

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.