Human health and the environment are affected by persistent organic pollutants, which are toxic organic substances that accumulate and remain in the environment for long periods of time.

Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of POPs, although they threaten the health of any human being. Scientists list cancer, neurobehavioral impairment, immune system biochemical alterations, reproductive deficits, diabetes and a shortened period of lactation in nursing mothers among their most severe effects. In the environment, POPs reduce and alter biodiversity.

To combat and lessen these effects, Mexico signed the Stockholm Convention in 2001 and ratified in 2003, becoming the first Latin American country to do so. The convention is a global treaty that aims at eliminating and/or reducing POPs.