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Chem Res Toxicol. 2014 May 19;27(5):713-37. doi: 10.1021/tx500014w. Epub 2014 Mar 28.

Chemical properties, environmental fate, and degradation of seven classes of pollutants.

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Uppsala Center for Computational Chemistry, Science for Life Laboratory, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Uppsala , Box 596, SE-75124 Uppsala, Sweden.


Industrialism has brought a long series of benefits for modern civilization. Concomitantly, reversible and irreversible changes have been inflicted upon the environment, affecting humans, animals, and whole ecosystems and leading to effects such as declining reproduction in modern human beings, developmental challenges on various species, and destroyed habitats and ecosystems across the globe. In this context, a vast repertoire of modern and older literature is reviewed for a series of pollutants and their status as of 2014. The compound classes covered in this review are polychlorinated biphenyls, halogenated hydrocarbons, estrogen analogues, phthalates, dioxins, perfluorinated compounds, and brominated flame retardants. These groups represent ubiquitous pollutants, of which some have circulated in the environment for more than 60 years. In this context, this review describes the chemical properties, the environmental fate, and the toxicological effects of these classes of pollutants on humans and animals, including an introductory section on the detoxification systems that are triggered in most species upon intoxication. This combined review of in vivo transformation, chemistry, toxicological properties, and structure-activity relationships of pollutants aids in the understanding of the fate, biomagnification, bioaccumulation, and transformation of these compounds, which is essential for toxicologists, environmental scientists, and environmental legislators. The review is concluded with an outlook.

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