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Chemical Body Burdens.docx

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University of Alberta
Renewable Resources
REN R360
Melanie Muise

 Chemical Body Burdens: o The quantitative amount of chemicals in our bodies that accumulates over times o Most of the data is based on ANIMAL studies and can’t be done on humans because it is unethical. Therefore, these data are somewhat comparable to humans but they are great indicators of the direction of study. o They are not stable over time. Their amount in the body changes over time because the human body (special organs) may break down or rearrange the chemicals into other chemicals. As well it is not distributed evenly throughout the body. For example, the liver. o There are some chemicals detected using detecting methods, but some are in so low concentrations that they are not traceable. o In Canada and the USA there is a program called biomonitoring which monitors the common population to see how many chemicals are present in the average person and if there are any health risks present.  Dioxins: gas when emitted but when then it becomes a chemical. o Produced everywhere where there any form of combustion. Hamilton is significantly contaminated with dioxins. o No commercial usefulness/application. It is the by-product of combustion only. Even during forest fires dioxins are produced. o It is also produced during the manufacturing process. o Dioxins are not just one chemical but a group of chemicals and have very similar chemical structure. One of the most toxic and studied is 2, 3, 7, 8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p- dioxin (TCDD). o The more chlorine in a chemical, the more toxic it is in most general cases. o Chlorination is the key process in how these chemicals become more toxic and what affects their chemical properties in the environment. In addition, they affect the solubility of chemical (e.g. more chlorine equals higher solubility in fats). o These chemicals are very persistent and hard to remove: persistent organic p
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