Persistent Organic Pollutants

Why study persistent organic pollutants?

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) represent a group of chemicals that are not easily degraded and so can accumulate and persist for long periods of time in the environment. Some POPs were produced for industrial use or were generated as by-products of industrial activities.

In ELEVATE we will measure Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). Brominated flame retardants have been used widely to flame-proof electronic goods, furniture, and other textiles. Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and related chemicals have been used to impart stain and dirt repellence in carpets, paper and packaging, to provide water repellence in apparel and are used in firefighting foams.

Currently, the health effects of many of these chemicals are not fully understood, however evidence suggests that they are toxic to humans. We will not study the health effects of these chemicals in ELEVATE, but our study, as a first step will measure how much of these chemicals are present in different microenvironments.