Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Banned chemical travels across three oceans

17.03.2004


A chemical once used in pesticides in Asia has accumulated thousands of miles away in Canada, according to a University of Toronto study.



High concentrations of alpha-hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) were detected in the atmosphere of Sable Island off the coast of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, says Professor Frank Wania of chemistry. The chemical was last used about 15 years ago in countries such as China and India but followed atmospheric and water flows across the Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic oceans to end up in eastern Canada. Frigid northern temperatures slowed its evaporation and degradation rate and trapped the chemical until it hit warmer waters where it will eventually evaporate.

"The Arctic Ocean has a ’lid’ on top in form of an ice cover," says Wania. "Over the last 20 years it acted as a sort of refrigerator preserving the chemical that is now flowing into Atlantic Canada."


In the study, Wania and his team established a network of air sampling stations on a north-south route from the Arctic to Central America and east-west from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island. The sampling stations consist of polymer resins – pellets of a lightweight plastic material – that absorb pollutants like a sponge, allowing researchers to monitor alpha-HCH and other chemicals across the continent.


The study, which appears in the February issue of Environmental Science and Technology, was funded by the Toxic Substances Research Initiative by Environment Canada and Health Canada.

CONTACT: Professor Frank Wania, Department of Chemistry, U of T at Scarborough, 416-287-7225, frank.wania@utoronto.ca or Karen Kelly, U of T public affairs, 416-978-0260, k.kelly@utoronto.ca

Karen Kelly | University of Toronto
Further information:
http://www.utoronto.ca/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>