Prevention and reduction of adverse effects of
persistent organic pollutants on health
that can be taken to prevent and reduce the adverse effects of POPs on health
can be divided into measures taken at the national level and measures taken by every
individual who is well aware of the potential sources and chemical properties
of persistent organic pollutants.
national measures to minimize and prevent exposure to POPs include control over
contamination of foodstuffs, alimentary raw materials, drinking water, ground
water and soil as well as ensuring health safety of people working in harmful
labor conditions. In Belarus,
these functions are performed by the state sanitary inspectorate, environmental
agencies and agencies responsible for inspecting alimentary raw materials and
foodstuffs. Annually they analyze more than 5,000 samples of foodstuffs,
alimentary raw materials and drinking water cultivated and produced in the
country as well as those imported from abroad. The samples are tested for such
pesticides residue as DDT and its metabolintes aldrin, heptachlor, hexachloro
cyclohexane. In case the concentration of the chemicals in tested food and raw
materials is higher than acceptable these products are recalled and destroyed.
When high concentration of POPs is found in water authorities take all the
necessary measures to protect population (supply water from other sources,
clean water supply sources, etc). It is noteworthy that so far no such incidents
have been recorded in Belarus.
the state sanitary inspectorate has been monitoring the level of polychlorinated
biphenyls in fish and fish products. Measures are taken to introduce tests for
dioxin and furans. These tests allow stating that food products available in
stores and potable water from centralized and decentralized water supply
sources inspected by the state do not contain dangerous amount of POPs.
In order to
protect the health of people working in harmful labor conditions (for example,
agricultural workers directly exposed to pesticides) regular medical
examinations are carried out for early detection of occupational diseases.
To protect yourself and your family from the potential exposure to persistent organic pollutants it is necessary to be well-informed about their sources and simply be cautious.
lipid soluble and therefore are better accumulated in tissues containing fat,
including in some food products. Limited consumption of high-fat food (lard,
fatty meat and fish) will not only reduce the risk of exposure to POPs and
other lipid soluble pollutants, but also reduce the risk of developing obesity,
cardio and vascular diseases, diabetes.
of high-fat food is�highly recommended
to pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers as POPs can get into breast milk
and negatively impact the health of the baby during breastfeeding.
It is not
advisable to eat fish from rivers or lakes located in close vicinity to
landfills, pesticide storages or dumps, manufacturers that can be potential
sources of POPs, as well as to drink water from outdoor water sources. Prolonged
consumption of such fish and water, even with low concentration of POPs, can
increase the risk of various diseases.
banned chlorine-containing pesticides identified as persistent organic
pollutants more than 20 years ago. However, these pesticides can still be found
in warehouses and in private households. People who may be unaware of their
danger or profit-motivated individuals can sell these pesticides for pest
control purposes. In Belarus all the permitted pesticides must have
certificates confirming their safety and containing instructions on their safe
application (agricultural crops they can be used for, duration of application,
etc). Therefore, to better protect your health when buying pesticides and
fertilizers from individuals ask them to show you the certificate or better buy
them in specialized stores.
It is not
safe to use other chemicals that are not properly labeled and kept in unsealed
It is inadmissible
to store food products and drinking water in containers earlier used for
unknown chemical substances. As a rule, such containers are brightly colored
(red, yellow, orange) or have stripes of the same colors. There have been
registered cases of mass contamination with POPs caused by the consumption of
milk stored in containers that had been used to store polychlorinated biphenyls.
It is known
that dioxins/furans are released during burning, including burning of polymers.
Therefore it is not advisable to burn polymers (plastic bottles, film, etc) and
use the ashes left after burning polymers or chemically treated wood as
Observation of these simple rules will help minimize the risk of exposure to persistent organic pollutants.