The Human Body Burden; why should we care?

The Human Body Burden—refers to the total accumulation of toxins in our body. In our daily life, we are bombarded with toxic compounds. The air we breathe, water we drink, food we eat, and even the homes we live in — all have some level of toxic contamination, which can’t be eliminated but can be reduced or controlled. In order to better understand what we are exposed to and what effects these toxins may have on our bodies, the science of Biomonitoring, or Body Burden studies has emerged worldwide. Biomonitoring is the measurement of the body burden of toxic chemical compounds, elements, or their metabolites, in body fluids (blood, urine, saliva and hair). We live in a world in which man-made chemicals have become a part of everyday life. It is clear that some of these chemical pollutants can affect the endocrine (hormonal) system. However, over 100,000 chemical products are in widespread use today, but the consequences of these products to life and the environment are not well understood. Only a small fraction of these synthetic chemicals have been assessed for endocrine disrupting activity. Thus we have only looked at the “tip of the iceberg”. How many EDCs (Endocrine Disruptive Chemicals) are there? Where do they come from? What are the human and wildlife exposures? What are their effects individually and in mixtures during development and adulthood and even across generations? What are their mechanisms of action? How can testing for EDCs be improved? All of these questions need answers. The Stockholm Convention on POPS (Persistent Organic Pollutants) which entered into force in May 2004, marked the start of an international effort to rid the world of the more dangerous POPs. To date a total of 185 signatories (countries) have either ratified, accepted, approved or acceded to this Convention in support of an ambitious effort to eliminate POPS. The Government of the State of Qatar officially ratified its commitment to the Convention in 2004, thereby taking the lead in being a supporter in protecting the environment and human health. Qatar commits to the Conventions requirements not because we were asked BUT because our vision is to be a pioneer organization that maintains balance between preserving natural resources and the development requirements for better life in both present and future generations.

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