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J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 2002;40(4):457-65.

Potential effects of certain persistent organic pollutants and endocrine disrupting chemicals on the health of children.

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  • 1World Health Organization, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, USA. damstra@niehs.nih.gov


Persistent organic pollutants are lipophilic, man-made chemicals that are highly resistant to degradation. Due to their persistence, they have become distributed in small quantities throughout the world. They bioaccumulate in thefood chain and are stored in fatty tissues. Biomagnifications up the food chain result in potential widespread human exposure to these chemicals. Exposure to persistent organic pollutants has been associated with many adverse human health effects, including impaired neurodevelopment, immune and reproductive function. Many persistent organic pollutants also possess the ability to disrupt the normal functioning of the endocrine system. There is an increasing concern that low-level exposure to these endocrine disrupting chemicals may have adverse health impacts, particularly during fetal, neonatal, and childhood development. Both the nature and severity of health outcomes may depend on the developmental time-period during which chemical exposure occurs. This report summarizes scientific evidence on health effects of low-level exposure to persistent organic pollutants and endocrine disrupting chemicals.

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