Pak One Health Alliance

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are highly toxic chemicals considered as global threat to
Human Health & environment. These chemicals are of global concern due to their potential for
long-range transport, persistence in the environment, ability to bio-magnify and bio accumulate in ecosystems, as well as their significant negative effects on human health and
environment. Pak One Health Alliance® in collaboration with the Ministry of Climate Change
and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) carried out “Health Risk Assessment of
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in Pakistan” during 2020.

Background: Human are exposed to chemicals in a variety of ways, mainly through the food we eat, but also through the air we breathe, in the outdoors, indoors and at the workplace.
Initially, twelve POPs have been recognized as causing adverse effects on humans and the
ecosystem and these can be placed in three categories:

  1. Pesticides: aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene,
    mirex, toxaphene;
  2. Industrial chemicals: hexachlorobenzene, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); and
  3. By-products: hexachlorobenzene; polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins & polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDD/PCDF)&PCBs

POPs are found everywhere in the world in measurable amounts especially in;

  1. Food – fish, shellfish, or wild foods in which POPs have bio-accumulated;
  2. Air – indoors and outdoors, cigarette and second-hand smoke, and vehicle exhaust; and
  3. Consumer products – pesticides, insecticides, cigarettes, and some paints.

POPs are considered as the silent killers due to their bio-accumulative and long persistent natures. These are responsible for various lethal diseases and environmental problems.