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Persistent Pollutants

  • By: Mary Lyn Stoll
  • In: Green Business: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Nevin Cohen & Paul Robbins
  • Subject:Sustainability, Environmental Policy & Law (general)

Persistent pollutants are substances that contaminate the environment, causing harm to humans, living organisms, and ecosystems over extended periods of time. Defined broadly, persistent pollutants could include substances as diverse as greenhouse gases, radioactive waste, heavy metals, and even transgenic gene sequences because all can cause harms over extended periods of time.

Radioactive waste is one type of persistent pollutant that is carcinogenic for thousands of years
Source: iStockphoto

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorcarbons (HCFCs), for example, are greenhouse gases that contribute to destruction of the ozone layer. While CFCs have largely been banned and use of HCFCs is slated to end by 2030, their effects continue. The chemical properties of HCFCs, and most especially of CFCs, are such that it takes several decades for their negative effects to ...

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