Give Now

A Moment of Science

Organic Pollutants

Think you're safe eating organic? Learn about persistent organic pollutants on this Moment of Science.

This may comes as a shock, but you can’t escape the risk of cancer simply by eating all organic foods and moving to  Antarctica, where industrialization and vehicle exhaust is hard to find. Yes, eating organic foods is a great way to reduce the amount of pollutants in your body, but you can’t entirely escape pollution, no matter where you live.

Persistent organic pollutants, or POPs, are everywhere–in our food, soil, air, and water. They can travel far distances, so that even if you live in an area relatively free of the use of pesticides or industrial processes, pollutants will find their way to you.

In many instances, the levels of POPs found far from a source of pollution are significantly lower than the levels near the source. However, for some POPs, even low levels can be dangerous because they resist break down. When they get into your body, they stick around, accumulating in fatty tissues.

Luckily, there is a global movement, involving over 150 countries, to eliminate some of the most dangerous of these POPs, which include pesticides, industrial chemicals, and their byproducts. Some of them have already been banned in the U.S.

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from A Moment of Science:

Support for Indiana Public Media Comes From

About A Moment of Science

Search A Moment of Science