Persistent Organic Pollutants are forms of variable organic compounds. These compounds resist chemical, photolythic, and biological degradation. On many cases, they have low water solubility, while maintaining high lipid solubility. Semi-volatility, along with other characteristics, is spread on a worldwide scale, even in regions where the compound was not used. Exposure to these compounds in human has been spread mainly through ingestion of food that is carrying the compound. Sea foods, mainly the fishes, have high content of the compound in various regions. Monitoring and management in the spread of the Persistent Organic Pollutants has been built by various nations with the use of the National Implementation Plan. Measures have been taken to minimize the presence of these chemicals in various areas and to stop transportation of the chemicals to regions where they are not used. Conducting studies in various parts of the world, like in Asia, the Actic, and African regions, reveals the wide spread of Persistent Organic Pollutants. DDT and PCDD are considered as some of the most prevalent compounds, thus, they need addressing.
Humanity has now reached a point of high concern on the Persistent Organic Pollutants (also known as POPs). Many have to contend with a condition brought about by the presence of the POPs in the environment. Inventions that at first started as harmless and as a mere efforts to help humanity, develop in numerous ways and now prove to be harmful to the environment as well as to the animal life. POPs are chemical substances that persist in the environment and accumulate in a biological manner through the food web and, in the event, posing a risk to health. These chemicals are resistant to degradation and are, thus, able to persist as they are transported from one body to another. The case of POPs has become a worldwide problem as the chemicals are transported across international boundaries taking it to regions far from where they were produced, thus, causing a worldwide problem (European Commission, 2012). What is more, is their ability to cause health hazards to the environment and to people.
The Stockholm Convention revealed an agreement on the regulation of the emission of POPs. Amendments on the EU regulation have also been put in place to ensure that all the chemicals added are under strict prohibition in the EU region. POPs are carried in pesticides, as well as other consumer products. Each of the states that are bound by the treaty was expected to ensure that the POPs listed are cleared from the shelves. Establishing a National Implementation Plan was important to carry out the functions of the agreement, as listed in the Convention (European Commission, 2012).
These components are known to volatize in hot regions, while they accumulate in the colder regions. Here, they condense and stay. Exposure to POP causes illness and death. Accidents, diet, and environmental exposure are manners in which the chemicals are absorbed into the body. Research has been put in place to find the relation between POPs and human health. This has led to numerous conclusions as to the contribution of the POPs (Holoubek, et al. 2009).
Methodologies Used to Perform the Analysis
Both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies are put to use in collecting and verifying information about the use of POPs and their effects to the environment, as well as human population. Various objectives and hypotheses were formulated to make it easy to identify tasks that should be carried out, as well as in describing the kind of reports that were expected (Clarke, 2005). The goal of the research was in:
- Finding evidence of the existence of POPs in the environmen;
- Finding evidence of the existence of POPs in human;
- Exploring how it is transported from one region to anothe;
- Comparing the POP levels in different regions to ascertain where it is in high level.
Quantitative research provided help in measuring variables, thus, bringing out the numbers and revealing statistics pertaining to a particular region. Qualitative research, on the other hand, helped to put meaning to the numbers (Clarke, 2005). The understanding of the POP levels could not be reached without the use of the two research methodologies. The result was data collection and analysis of the data collected. Primary data in the form of samples were taken from the regions where research was being conducted and the samples sent to the laboratory for analysis. This led to resultant figures on the samples examined, which acted as the primary source of information. The next step was the use of secondary resources, which involved looking into the studies of other researchers and, for this process, books and medical issues were used to come out with the conclusions. Qualitative research helped to interpret the data collected from the lab and to put the figures to plausible meanings.
Methodologies used in performing the analysis may differ depending on the research. In regards to POPs, Kolkata is one of the regions that were sampled in order to measure the impact of the chemicals to human health. From the tests conducted, PCDDs is one of the chemicals found in humans, as well as the other POPs. Sampling lactating mothers living in Kolkata, India, near a dumpsite, revealed the presence of the compounds in their milk. The research was conducted in the year 2004 to 2005. Human milk samples were collected from mothers and taken to the lab to conduct thorough research. The samples revealed that the residents of Kolkata were exposed to the compounds greatly (Someya, et al. 2010).
These samples were compared to samples from the reference site, revealing those taken from the women had high levels of PCDD. The measure of PCDF also had a high record. The measure of the PCBs was also compared among the mothers who had stayed in the region for varying amounts of years. The results showed that the women who had been staying there for a long time reveal higher concentrations of PCB in the milk than those that had been staying near the dumping site for a shorter period. While seeking some of the sources for contamination or the level of PCB in the human body, fish from the ponds in the region were taken. These were tested and the amount of PCB in the fish was compared to that in the dumping site at Kolkata. The results revealed that the amount of PCB in the fish was much higher than that in the reference site. This reveals that the fish acts as the source for PCBs among the residents living in Kolkata (Someya, et al. 2010).
Research revealed that not only are the Asian regions affected, but also the glacier filled region. The presence of POPs in the Alpine Glaciers was studied to reveal the presence of the compound in the glacier filled region. A study was conducted in the spring-summer of 2006 in Frodolfo glacial fed stream to reveal the presence of these chemicals. To compare the amount of the compound in the stream, research was also conducted in non-glacial stream, which was in the same region. This would help in the comparison of POP level contributed from different water sources (Bizzotto, et al. 2009).
Snow melting is usually experienced in late spring and early summer period. This is experienced in May – June. Both streams under study were affected by POP levels. This meant that there is contamination from the emissions in the region, as well as emissions that were transported from other places to the region. The contribution of POP by melting ice in July - October was recorder at high figures. The concentration in the glacial fed rivers was recorded at a higher level of POP than that found in the non-glacial fed streams. The levels recorded revealed a high peak amount of the component in the month of June, the source of high chemical concentration in the streams is atmospheric transportation, as well as local emissions (Bizzotto, et al. 2009).
POP monitoring shows that local pollution by this compound is widespread on a global scale. The arctic areas are hit by the POPs through Global distillation, which acts as a form of transportation of the chemicals to the regions. These chemicals are discharged from their sources to the soils and water bodies. The temperatures in the region lead to the volatilization of the component to the troposphere, than it is spread to other regions through distillation. POP has a large effect on water and sediment. Fish eating animals were found to have a high measure of PCB in their bodies. An example is the seagull, which has a record of high amount of POP as compared to other form of birds that eat other food (Paul, 2008). DDT is the most common known POP and easily affects fish and birds. It is an odorless to slight fragrance colorless crystal with white powder. Its use was common in crops. DDT is highly toxic in fish with 96-hour LC50 value. The range in shrimp is 0.4 g/L and 42 g/L in trouts. This component is able to affect fish behavior towards temperature, as well as affecting its balance (Paul, 2008).
The trend in the concentrations of PCBs and DDTs has been studied from 1994 to 2006. All organ chlorines show a decreasing trend with most of them being those of DDT and HGH, showing an annual decrease rate of 8%. However, there are other chemicals that reveal an increase. The BDE-47 has revealed an increase rate of 5% annually. BDE has annual median concentrations between 0.78ng/g lw to 3.54 ng/g lw in the Central West Greenland (see fig. 3). This amount is measured as 10 times lower the amount recorded in East Greenland. The animals in East Greenland, specifically the seals found in the region, have a lower amount than those found in West Greenland. The feeding habits, as well as the difference in exposure in the regions, are the results of the difference between these regions (Vorkamp, et al. 2008).