Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) released from plastics into water, soil and air are significant environmental and health problem. Continuous exposure of humans to these substances results not only from the slow biodegradation of plastics but also from their ubiquitous use as industrial materials and everyday products. Exposure to POPs may lead to neurodegenerative disorders, induce inflammation, hepatotoxicity, nephrotoxicity, insulin resistance, allergies, metabolic diseases, and carcinogenesis. This has spurred an increasing intense search for natural compounds with protective effects against the harmful components of plastics. In this paper, we discuss the current state of knowledge concerning the protective functions of polyphenols against the toxic effects of POPs: acrylonitrile, polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins, phthalates and bisphenol A. We review in detail papers from the last two decades, analyzing POPs in terms of their sources of exposure and demonstrate how polyphenols may be used to counteract the harmful environmental effects of POPs. The protective effect of polyphenols results from their impact on the level and activity of the components of the antioxidant system, enzymes involved in the elimination of xenobiotics, and as a consequence - on the level of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Polyphenols present in daily diet may play a protective role against the harmful effects of POPs derived from plastics, and this interaction is related, among others, to the antioxidant properties of these compounds. To our knowledge, this is the first extensive review of in vitro and in vivo studies concerning the molecular mechanisms of interactions between selected environmental toxins and polyphenols.
Keywords: Acrylonitrile; Bisphenol A; Dioxins; Phthalates; Polychlorinated biphenyls; Polyphenol.
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