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Persistent Organic Pollutants as Compounds of Emerging Concern

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Persistent Organic Pollutants or POPs are a class of organic compounds whose chemical and physical properties favor their bioaccumulation in environmental media and their overall persistence or stability in the global environment for long periods of time. Restrictions on the use of many persistent organic pollutants as well as corrective action plans for their elimination from continued commercial uses are regulated by the Stockholm Agreement. Some of the POPs identified in this global agreement include PCBs, PCDDs/PCDFs, and a variety of chlorinated pesticides. This same agreement also provides criteria to be applied in the identification of new POPs not listed in the current version of this agreement. These criteria include chemical and physical properties to be applied in screening new and emerging organics and ultimately used in identification of POPs subject to regulation by the Stockholm Agreement in the future. This presentation will review the chemical and physical properties currently available for screening of candidate compounds to establish a compounds' tendency to persist in the global environment as well as bioaccumulation in one or more environmental compartments. In addition, the presentation will focus on two classes of organo-chlorine compounds that have emerged as persistent organics in the global environment: namely Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs). Case studies relevant to PBDEs and PCBs in the residential/workplace settings as well as ambient air and related environmental matrices will be presented.

Keywords: PBDEs; PCBs; POPs; Persistent Organic Pollutants; Stockholm Convention

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 29, 2007

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