A Layperson's Primer on Multiple Stressors
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This article introduces the concept of multiple stressors. It has been written for the layperson, in terms that do not require a strong scientific background. It has been written to facilitate scientists’ communication with the public and funding agencies about multiple stressors. This article briefly explains several major classes of contaminants whose global dispersal and long-term persistence in the environment might cause them to contribute to multiple stressors. Highlighted is our lack of understanding about the potential interactions among multiple stressors and the need for much additional research. Interactions are explained through a simple example of various plausible responses that an organism might exhibit when exposed to both cadmium and radiation. Our current approach for determining human and ecological risks from contaminants is explained such that the reader is aware of why multiple stressor research is needed. This article stresses the need for a coordinated, multinational, multidisciplinary research plan for multiple stressors.
KeywordsPolar Bear Multiple Stressor Killer Whale Ecological Risk Assessment Chemical Mixture
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