Toxic pollutants persist in deepest ocean


Hirondellea gigas are voracious scavengers that consume anything that comes down from the surface. Image via Alan Jamieson

Scientists have discovered human-made chemicals, banned in the 1970s, in the bodies of creatures living in the deepest parts of the Pacific Ocean. That’s according to a study published February 13, 2017 in Nature Ecology & Evolution.
The British research team sampled amphipods, a type of crustacean that live in the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana and Kermadec trenches. The team used deep-sea landers bring up samples of the organisms that live in the deepest levels of the two trenches – which are over 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) deep and 7,000 kilometers (4,350 miles) apart.
They found extremely high levels of Persistent Organic Pollutants – or POPs – in the organism’s fatty tissue. These include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) which were commonly used as electrical insulators and flame retardants, until they were banned in the 1970s.

Image via BBC