POPs Toolkit Glossary


Para-occupational exposureExposure of a worker's family to substances carried from the workplace to the home, and/or exposure of visitors to substances in the workplace.
ParameterA quantity, usually unknown, such as a mean or a standard deviation characterizing a population. Commonly misused for “variable,” “characteristic,” or “property.”
Particulates1. Fine liquid or solid particles such as dust, smoke, mist, fumes, or smog, found in air or emissions. 2. Very small solids suspended in water; they can vary in size, shape, density and electrical charge and can be gathered together by coagulation and flocculation.
Partition CoefficientMeasure of the sorption phenomenon, whereby a pesticide is divided between the soil and water phase; also referred to as adsorption partition coefficient.
Parts Per Billion (ppb)/Parts Per Million (ppm)Units commonly used to express contamination ratios, as in establishing the maximum permissible amount of a contaminant in water, land, or air.
PathwayThe physical course a chemical or pollutant takes from its source to the exposed organism.
PCDDPolychlorinated dibenzo-dioxin.
PCDFPolychlorinated dibenzo-furan.
PermeabilityThe rate at which liquids pass through soil or other materials in a specified direction.
PersistenceRefers to the length of time a compound stays in the environment, once introduced. A compound may persist for less than a second or indefinitely.
Persistent PesticidesPesticides that do not break down chemically or break down very slowly and remain in the environment after a growing season.
Policy making styleApproach that prescribes aspects concerning selection rules, interpretative frames, different action plans for dealing with evidence, and others in policy making. E.g. the adversarial policy making style is characterized by an open forum in which different actors compete for social and political influence in the respective policy arena.
PollutantGenerally, any substance introduced into the environment that adversely affects the usefulness of a resource or the health of humans, animals, or ecosystems.
Polluter Pays PrincipleThe principle first adopted by the OECD in 1972 and later adopted by other organizations, according to which the polluter should bear the costs of
PollutionGenerally, the presence of a substance in the environment that because of its chemical composition or quantity prevents the functioning of natural processes and produces undesirable environmental and health effects. Under the Clean Water Act, for example, the term has been defined as the man-made or man-induced alteration of the physical, biological, chemical, and radiological integrity of water and other media.
pollution prevention and control measures.
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)A group of toxic, persistent chemicals used in electrical transformers and capacitors for insulating purposes, and in gas pipeline systems as lubricant. The sale and new use of these chemicals, also known as PCBs, were banned by law in 1979.
POPsPersistent Organic Pollutants.
PorosityDegree to which soil, gravel, sediment, or rock is permeated with pores or cavities through which water or air can move.
Potable WaterWater that is safe for drinking and cooking.
PQRAPreliminary Quantitative risk Assessment.
Present Value (PV)The discounted sum of all future debt service at a given rate of interest.
PublicA term that refers to the range of parties that may be interested in or affected by risk management decisions. It includes the general public, consumers, and special interest groups such as environmental, health and consumer groups, industry, scientists and professional associations.
Public participationA range of activities and relationships related to the interactions between the public and the decision-making body in the risk assessment and risk management process. This includes two-way communications, public education, public consultation and dialogue, advisory boards, partnerships, and joint decision-making.
Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)Purchasing power parities (PPPs) are the rates of currency conversion that equalise the purchasing power of different currencies by eliminating the differences in price levels between countries. In their simplest form, PPPs are simply price relatives which show the ratio of the prices in national currencies of the same good or service in different countries.
Hatfield Consultants The World Bank funded by the Canadian POPs Trust Fund through the      
Canadian International Development Agency
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