The Negative Effects of Persistent Organic Pollutants

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As newly synthesized chemicals are constantly being created, whether for pharmaceutical purposes, agricultural growth or just for the use of commercial products, their adverse effects on the environment, especially in remote places, are often overlooked. Such has been seen with the production of persistent organic pollutants in the mid 1900s, a series of chemicals that were commonly manufactured for the intended uses in agriculture, yet have been found to negatively affect many other sectors in both nature and human health (EPA, 2009). Due to the ‘grasshopping’ effect, the past production of persistent organic pollutants in North America, Europe and Asia have contributed to adverse health effects and biomagnification present in the Arctic regions today.
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are chemical substances that resist degradation and continue to persist in the environment. Such chemicals pose a threat to humans, biodiversity and the environment due to their ability to bio-accumulate in organisms as well as biologically magnify through levels of the food chain (UNIDO, n.d.). POPs are also classified as long-range transport pollutants as they are able to travel far distances from the source of contamination by natural means such as water, wind and atmospheric cycles. For this reason, such pollutants are being found in the Arctic, despite these regions not being the source of producing such chemical contaminants (Ma, et al, 2011). As listed by the Stockholm Convention,

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