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J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2006 Nov;69(21):1987-2005.

Persistent organic pollutants and adverse health effects in humans.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, National University of Singapore, Singapore.


Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are synthetic chemicals that have an intrinsic resistance to natural degradation processes, and are therefore environmentally persistent. The introduction of POPs into the environment from anthropogenic activities resulted in their widespread dispersal and accumulation in soils and water bodies, as well as in human and ecological food chains, where they are known to induce toxic effects. Due to their ubiquity in the environment and lipophilic properties, there is mounting concern over the potential risks of human exposure to POPs. This has led to the establishment of monitoring programs worldwide to determine prevailing levels of POPs in the population and to investigate the adverse health risks associated with background exposure. This article reviews the state of knowledge regarding residual levels of POPs in human adipose tissue worldwide, and highlights research data for POPs in the environment and human maternal adipose tissue in Singapore. Although concentrations are comparable to those observed elsewhere, longer term monitoring of a larger cross section of the population is warranted in order to establish temporal trends and potential risks to human health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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