The hazards of synthetic (anthropogenic) chemicals

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Currently, there is a highly politicized debate on the comparative risks of naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals. Since humans are often exposed to complex mixtures of both classes of chemicals, the real-world value of this debate is unclear. However, in any such comparison, it is important to realize that some naturally occurring substances-such as lead or tobacco-have been so altered or disturbed by human activity that they are best considered as products of human activity, or anthropogenic. Reasons for concern over synthetic and anthropogenic chemicals include: persistence and propensity for long-term storage in biota and the environment; structural similarity to endogenous biomolecules; and additivity to natural hazards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)835-841
Number of pages7
JournalToxicology Letters
Issue numberC
StatePublished - Dec 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Carcinogens
  • Dioxins
  • Metals
  • PCBs
  • Risk assessment
  • Synthetic chemicals
  • Xenoestrogens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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