This article reviews the present state of the science concerning the polybrominated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PBDDs) and dibenzofurans (PBDFs). Everywhere in the world people are exposed to anthropogenic origin chemicals. Some of them are long-lived organic compounds, which persist over the years in the environment. Persistent organic pollutants, such as organohalogen compounds, accumulate in environmental and biological compartments and have adverse effects on the health of humans and animals. Little is known about the brominated and mixed chloro/bromo dioxin and furans. Existing literature suggests that brominated dioxins and furans have similar toxicity profiles to their chlorinated analogues. The exposure data are extremely limited, showing a major data gap in estimating the potential environmental and health risk of these chemicals. The rapid increase in the use of brominated flame retardants (the main source of these pollutants) has raised the level of concern over environmental and health damage from brominated dioxins and furans. It is likely that human as well as wildlife exposure to these contaminants will increase with their greater use. The findings reported here present strong evidence of the PBDDs and PBDFs as an emerging new class of contaminants.
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