Persistent substances resist natural processes of degradation, and so can remain in the environment long term, even after production and use of a substance has ceased. They can be distributed at long range, and can be detected at great distances from the original sites of release. Accumulation of these substances in fatty tissues of living organisms can lead to a magnification effect in the food chain. As a result, pollutants have been detected in humans and wildlife around the world. The combination of long-term stability and bioaccumulation potential together with evidence of toxicity has clear implications for environmental safety.

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