Elimination of chemicals

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Elimination of chemicals: mechanism to get rid of drugs and chemicals. Elimination out of the body takes place in two principal ways: excretion and metabolism (usually followed by excretion of the breakdown products). Only water-soluble materials can be excreted in the kidneys to urine, and many organic pollutants are lipid soluble and poorly water-soluble chemicals. Therefore they cannot be excreted practically at all as such. Metabolism tries to make them more water soluble, but especially higher chlorinated PCBs and PCDD/Fs with "lateral" chlorine atoms are metabolised very poorly, and therefore cannot be effectively excreted even with the help of metabolism. They accumulate in body fats, and their half-life (see this) may be even several years. Elimination of drugs and chemicals usually obeys first order kinetics (see Half-life, Cumulation). This means that the rate of elimination directly correlates with the amount of the drug in the body (or the concentration in blood, i.e. a constant fraction (e.g. one per cent) of the chemical is eliminated in time unit (e.g. in an hour). [1]


  1. Jouko Tuomisto, Terttu Vartiainen and Jouni T. Tuomisto: Dioxin synopsis. Report. National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), ISSN 1798-0089 ; 14/2011 [1]