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British Antarctic Survey reports rising ‘constant chemical’ levels in Antarctica

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Researchers from Lancaster University have shown that non-degradable fluorine-containing substances used in the coatings of pans are increasingly entering Antarctica, which is dangerous to humans and animals. The results of their work were published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

Plastic pollution is a big problem due to its slow decomposition in natural conditions. However, some substances, such as perfluorocarboxylic acids, do not decompose at all in nature. They have a wide range of applications: non-stick coatings for pans, water repellents and fire retardants for clothes. One of these acids, perfluorooctanoic acid, accumulates in food chains and has proven human toxicity: it causes immune system disorders and infertility.

Samples of fir (extremely dense perennial snow) were taken from the extremely remote high plateau of Queen Maud Land by scientists from the University of Lancaster, along with colleagues from the British Antarctic Survey and the Hereon Institute for Coastal Environmental Chemistry (Germany). east Antarctica. The authors found that in the past decade much more dangerous fluorine-containing substances have begun to enter Antarctica. One of the most common is perfluorobutanoic acid, whose production increased 20 years ago due to the damage of other types of acids. Also, some chemicals that replace old ozone-depleting refrigerants can decompose in the atmosphere to form this acid.

Researchers believe that toxic substances entered Antarctica through the air from production areas. Then, with snowfall, they collapse on the perennial firs and remain under a layer of snow. The scientists’ approach could be used to evaluate pollution control measures in the future.


Source: Gazeta

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