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Anthropogenic pollutants – an insidious threat to animal health and productivity?

  • Rhind S
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SUMMARY:Humans have always polluted their environment and, to an extent, the associated adverse consequences have increased in parallel with the global population. However, in recent decades, entirely novel compounds have been created, for multiple purposes, and some of these have become ubiquitous, damaging pollutants, which interfere with fundamental physiological processes in all animal species, disrupting reproductive and other functions. Understanding of the actions of these chemicals is poor but it is recognised that they can act additively, at low concentrations, and that animals at early stages of development are particularly sensitive to their effects. All species, including domestic and wild animals and humans, can be affected. Thus, there are potential adverse implications of exposure for farm and companion animal productivity and health, and associated economic implications. While anthropogenic pollutants exert subtle, but important, adverse effects on animal health and productivity, these should be weighed against the benefits associated with the use of these compounds, particularly in relation to food production and short-term determinants of animal health. However, it is suggested that it may be necessary to regulate future production and use of some of these compounds in order to ensure long term sustainability of production systems.




Rhind, S. M. (2012). Anthropogenic pollutants – an insidious threat to animal health and productivity? Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, 54(S1).

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