For a healthier future: a virtuous cycle for reducing exposure to persistent organic pollutants
In the modern society, people are exposed to various pollutants during their lifetime. Worldwide, the status of children's health has changed in recent decades. Some studies have attempted to identify the causes of these changes and whether they relate to pollutant exposure; however, such attempts have faced major challenges because human life is complex, involving many social and environmental factors. Several long-term cohort studies are being conducted to determine the relationship between diseases and social and environmental factors in children. Even before we establish complete proof of adverse effects, we should attempt to decrease risk to future generations by adopting precautionary principles. Environmental exposure to persistent organic pollutants can be reduced throughout the stages of life—the fetal period, newborn and infant periods, childhood, adolescence and adulthood (preconception) by individuals as well as by society as a whole. Through reducing environmental exposure to pollutants, adverse health effects can also be reduced, which will contribute to healthier future generations. Here, we suggest a virtuous cycle for improving the health of future generations through reduced exposure to persistent pollutants.