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Environ Health Perspect. 1995 December; 103(Suppl 9): 55–61.
PMCID: PMC1518821
Research Article

Pesticide-induced immunotoxicity: are Great Lakes residents at risk?


Several organophosphate and organochlorine compounds, including pesticides commonly found in the Great Lakes basin, have the potential to induce immunotoxicity. Because of biomagnification and accumulation in the food chain, Great Lakes residents may inadvertently be exposed to these compounds and thus face increased risk of immune dysfunction. In spite of the laboratory animal data and evidence from occupational exposures that suggest immunotoxicity, there is no definitive evidence as yet that environmental exposure to these xenobiotics poses a significant threat to the human immune system that is sufficient to predispose residents of the Great Lakes basin to increased disease. However, uncertainties with regard to exposure levels, predictability of tests, suitability of the animal models, and immune reserve cannot be ruled out when making risk assessment decisions such as this.

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