Persistent Organic Pollutants
Published:16 Jul 2015
M. A. Abdallah, in Still Only One Earth: Progress in the 40 Years Since the First UN Conference on the Environment, ed. R. M. Harrison and R. E. Hester, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2015, pp. 150-186.
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This chapter provides an overview of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), which are widely considered as a global concern. The structure and role of the Stockholm Convention on POPs is discussed. The specific criteria for listing certain chemicals as POPs are explained. Both “legacy” and “new” POPs are classified according to their major applications, human exposure pathways and the required actions under the Stockholm Convention to minimize their risk to human and wildlife. Historical and current sources of POPs are discussed in line with their emissions to various environmental compartments. Causes for concern and potential adverse effects arising from exposure of human and wildlife to current levels of POPs are assessed. Different pathways of POPs transport and global distribution are evaluated and the impact of legislation on reducing levels of POPs in the global environment over the past 40 years is investigated. The expected influence of climate change on the behaviour, distribution and concentrations of POPs is explained and solutions for management of the problem are briefly discussed.