Environmental Contaminants: Sources and Effects
- Pp. 1-23 (23) Savita, Vivek Chopra and Anuradha Sharma
Environmental contaminants are those substances which are present in the environment above the permissible limits of concentration, which adversely alters the environment and is toxic to the human, animal and plant health. Due to industrialization and overuse of chemical fertilizers, our environment has become contaminated with various types of contaminants. The contaminants include solid, liquid and gaseous substances which are produced by human activity for short-term economic benefits at the cost of long-term ecological benefits for humanity. The sources of contaminants may be point source or non-point source. The common sources of contaminants are fossil fuels, industries and industrial accidents, oil spills, mining, ammunitions and agents of war etc. The contaminants may be natural or xenobiotic (man-made) in nature. The common environmental contaminants are polyaromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals, pesticides organic solvents and inorganic solvents etc. Accidental release of these contaminants in the environment leads to evolution of new diseases to human health and as well as mass death of population. The present chapter deals with the various types of contaminants, sources and effects of environmental contaminants.