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Environ Pollut. 1988;50(1-2):5-28.

PCB problems in the future: foresight from current knowledge.

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Department of Environment Conservation, College of Agriculture, Ehime University, Tarumi 3-5-7, Matsuyama 790, Japan.


The present paper overviews the forthcoming PCB problems from current knowledge of their use, environmental contamination and toxicology. From a global point of view, PCB levels in the environmental media and biota are unlikely to decline in the near future due to the greater quantities of PCBs still in use than the quantity that has already escaped into the open environment. Considering all the information on the occurrence, distribution and behaviour of PCBs in the ecosystems, the marine mammals are probably the most vulnerable and possible target organisms in forthcoming long-term PCB toxicity. The recent isomer-specific analyses suggest that the intrinsic toxicity of PCBs principally resulted from the coplanar PCB congeners which may impose a greater toxic threat than chlorinated dioxins and furans to humans and wildlife. The measures necessary to reduce further discharge of PCBs into the environment should be set in motion immediately, otherwise there may be a subsequent deleterious biological impact.


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