ABOUT THE BOOK AND THE PROJECT
From the whole array of organic substances affecting
living organisms, the international community had focused on a few especially hazardous
ones - so called persistent organic pollutants (POPs). POPs share several common
properties: extremely high toxicity, ability to accumulate in fatty tissues and high
stability in natural environments, with very low rates of destruction under impact of
natural factors. Moreover, POPs can migrate to very long distances. They were found even
in Arctic and Antarctic regions, where they have never been produced or applied. POPs
adversely affect all protective systems of the human body - including nervous, endocrine
and immune systems. These toxic substances generate toxic effects even at extremely low
The majority of countries welcome prohibiting of POPs
manufacture, elimination of their stockpiles and sources. They reaffirmed their intentions
to get rid of these hazardous chemicals by negotiating the Stockholm Convention, which was
adopted by governments in May 2001. By February, 2003, Convention has been ratified by 26
countries and signed by 151.
International and non-governmental organisations actively
support governmental decisions to implement practical measures for elimination of POPs and
mitigation of their post-use effects. Many of them share the common vision of their aims
to substantiate health hazards of these substances and to provide necessary information to
governmental agencies, businesses and the public at large, allowing them to make informed
decisions on POPs.
We hope that this book will become a valuable information
resource. The book incorporates results of joint efforts of public health specialists,
environmental education professionals, representatives of social and political movements,
researchers, experts of international and non-governmental organisations. The book
contains information allowing them to make informed decisions of POPs-related matters. It
is intended to assist readers to assess health risks associated with persistent organic
The book provides information on contemporary POPs
elimination efforts at international, national and regional levels. The book will assist
policy makers, businessmen, public health professionals and members of the general public
in developing their co-operation and reaching mutual understanding for addressing matters,
associated with protection of human health from POPs impacts.
We greatly acknowledge contributions of all persons who
provided information materials and assisted us in development of the publication,
especially: L. Abryutina (Russian Association of indigenous peoples of the North), J.
Adibi (Harvard university), E. Basarygina (the Association of Young Scientists of
Cheliabinsk State Agro-engineering University), I. Blokov (GreenPeace-Russia), E.
Vasilieva (Volgograd - EcoPress), J. Weinberg (the International POPs Elimination
Network), B. Kurliandskiy (the Public Health Ministry of the Russian Federation), D.
Levashov (ECO-SPES environmental NGO), O. Sergeev (Chapaievsk Medical Association), B.
Revich (the Centre of Demography and Human Ecology, the Institute of Forecasting of the
Russian National Academy of Sciences), M. Sobol (the Women's Network of the Urals), O.
Tsyguleva (MAMA-86-Kharkov), O. Tsitser (the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian
Federation), K. Shafer (the International Pesticide Network).
Besides that, information for the publication was also
provided by UNEP Chemicals, RF Public Health Ministry, the Ministry of Natural Resources
of the Russian Federation, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the International POPs
Elimination Network, the Basel Action Network, the Arctic Council, the Pesticide Action
Network, and US EPA.
We also used published data of M. Avdeev (Cheliabinsk
State Agro-engineering University), E. Volkova (the Ural State Medical Academy), Sh.
Galimova (Bashkir State University), Ya. Zhakova (Cheliabinsk State Medical Academy), E.
Zhukovskaya (Cheliabinsk Regional Movement "World Gematologists for Children"),
G. Lestchenko (Cheliabinsk State Agro-engineering University), G. Lind ("Regulation
of Dioxin Levels in Food (EC)", B.Revich, the Institute of Forecasts of RF National
Academy of Sciences, E. Sharapova (Moscow Medical Academy), G. Tiutina (Municipal
Department on Culture, Cheliabinsk), A. Uralshin (Cheliabinsk Oblast Centre for Sanitary
and Epidemiological Control).
The book incorporates also some sections of reports,
published by Eco-Accord Centre in its brochure "Persistent Organic Pollutants and
Human Health" (Moscow, 2001).
The publication was developed within the framework of the
project " Empowering Russian Public To Take Actions Towards POPs Elimination"
being implemented by Eco-Accord Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development. The
project is being implemented in co-operation with Russian and international organisations,
in partnership with UNEP Chemicals and with financial support of the Government of Canada.
The project stipulates broad exchange of views on health impacts of POPs, relevant
international and national decisions; activities of different organisations in the sphere
of POPs' elimination and opportunities for public participation in these activities.
The project participants express their sincere gratitude
to the Government of Canada for its support for this project through its Canada POPs Fund
that has made possible this publication, the holding of regional workshops in Chapaievsk
and Cheliabinsk on health impacts of POPs, and the broad dissemination of materials of
POPs problems in Russia and other NIS.
James B Willis
ECO-Accord POPs projects,
Editor in charge