A threat to the environment and human health posed by persistent toxic pollutants and countermeasuresMar. 16,2021
A study published in The Lancet has indicated that a newly-born child will face a warmer world with multiple and life-long health harm from climate change, risks of food shortages, infectious diseases, floods and extreme heat. Environmental pollution threatens the public health, and the resultant incidence of diseases has continued to rise in recent years. To tackle the environmental problem, Chinese government has proposed a new guideline on building an economic system with accent on green, low-carbon and circular development, which received praise from experts and business leaders.
Among all the pollution factors, persistent toxic pollutants (PTSs) are considered as a major environmental issue that affects human survival and health in the 21st century. These PTSs mainly include persistent organic pollutants (e.g., polychlorinated biphenyls, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polybrominated diphenyl ether, and dioxins) and organometallic compounds (e.g., organic mercury compounds, organic tin compounds, and organic lead compounds). Since PTSs are difficult to degrade in the environment, they can migrate over a long distance and be accumulated in organisms, which will bring long-term negative effects and hazards to human health and the environment. Therefore, PTSs have been kept a concern of governments and environmental scientists, becoming the frontier and hot topic in environmental sciences.
Despite the abundant resources allocated for environmental pollution and health research, China started late in this field compared with the developed countries, as manifested by the imperfect layout, insufficient research, and fragmented scientific problems, which limits the research of PTSs in China.
In view of the current environment and health problems in China, XU et al. from Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, CAS have highlighted the following issues to be addressed: improving identification and research method of PTSs with health hazards; identifying the external and internal exposure risks of PTSs; revealing the toxic effects and pathogenic mechanisms of PTSs, which are summarized in the article Current Status and Thinking of Environmental Health Research on Persistent Toxic Pollutants published in Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences.
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