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Integrated Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: A Case Study of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in Humans and Wildlife

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Since the mid-1900s, the global environment has become increasingly contaminated with Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), including many with dioxin-like properties. These compounds generally have low water solubility, do not degrade readily in the environment, bioaccumulate in food chains, and have been linked to adverse health effects in both humans and wildlife. The presence of such compounds in terrestrial and aquatic food chains is relevant to those concerned with both human health and environmental protection because of the many common exposure pathways and biological effects among different species. In the past, some chemicals with health risks for humans have been identified following reports of adverse effects in wildlife. Integrating human and ecological risk assessments may improve society's ability to manage the design, manufacture, use and disposal of chemicals in a safe and efficient manner. This can be demonstrated with this case study, which summarizes approaches to evaluating the sources, transport and fate of certain POPs, used largely in the past, and their associated health risks to humans and biota.
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Keywords: humans; integration; persistent organic pollutants (POPs); risk; wildlife

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Marine Environmental Quality Section, Institute of Ocean Sciences, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, P.O. Box 6000, Sidney BC V8L 4B2, Canada. 2: National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, USA

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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