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Organizations & People
Pure Appl. Chem. Vol. 68, No. 9, pp. 1771-1780 (1996)
Persistent, Ecotoxic and Bioaccumulative
Compounds and their Possible Environmental Effects
(University of Ulm, Dept. of Analytical and Environmental Chemistry,
Albert-Einstein-Allee 11 D-89069 Ulm, Germany)
The relationship between physicochemical
properties, environmental distribution and effects of organochlorine compounds
as a major class of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are discussed.
The environmental fate of a compound includes its transport and dispersion
in the environment as well as its accumulation and transformation in defined
environmental compartments. Accumulation and transformation as the result
of environmental distribution may have long-term consequences; this is
indicated by the ultimate accumulation and long-term bioactivity of several
widely spread organochlorines, and is clearly evident in the decomposition
of chlorofluorocarbons in the stratosphere.
Depending on the order of trophic levels
biomagnifiaction factors of 10,000 up to 100,000 are encountered for persistent
semivolatile organochlorines such as 4,4'-DDE, PCB congeners or some Toxaphene
constituents. Mammals show intra-species pollutant transfer during the
lactation period. While the mother animal is partly depleting its body
burden, the calve accumulates in a critical period of its life via the
milk a concentrated input of persistent organochlorines. A similar depletion
phenomenon is also found for fish and crustacean which enrich in the eggs
a substantial part of the accumulated body burden of the female.
The air skimming of semivolatiles by plant
surfaces leads to surprisingly high levels of pollutants in the upper
soil layers of forests that otherwise would be considered pristine in
terms of human activities.
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