Polish Journal of Environmental Studies
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ISO Abbrev. Title: Pol. J. Environ. Stud.

Vol. 16, No. 3 (2007), 347-362


Phenols – Sources and Toxicity

J. Michałowicz, W. Duda

University of Łódź, Faculty of Biology and Environment Protection, Banacha 12/16 str., 90-237 Łódź, Poland


Abstract: Phenols and their derivatives commonly exist in the environment. These compounds are used as the components of dyes, polymers, drugs and other organic substances. The presence of phenols in the ecosystems is also related with production and degradation of numerous pesticides and the generation of industrial and municipal sewages. Some phenols are also formed during natural processes. These compounds may be substituted with chlorine atoms, may be nitrated, methylated or alkylated. Both phenols and catechols are harmful ecotoxins. Toxic action of these compounds stems from unspecified toxicity related to hydrophobocity and also to the generation of organic radicals and reactive oxygen species. Phenols and catechols reveal peroxidative capacity, they are hematotoxic and hepatotoxic, provoke mutagenesis and carcinogenesis toward humans and other living organisms.

 

Keywords: phenols, catechol, natural origin of phenols, anthropogenic sources of phenols, toxicity of phenols


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