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Home* News and Stories → Envi­ron­men­tal toxins: new com­pounds found in Spits­ber­gen

Envi­ron­men­tal toxins: new com­pounds found in Spits­ber­gen

A group of envi­ron­men­tal toxins that is new to the Arc­tic has recent­ly been tra­ced down in Spits­ber­gen. The so-cal­led sil­ox­ans are part of many cos­me­tics such as deodo­rants and others. Sil­ox­ans are very vola­ti­le, which means they can escape into the air very easi­ly and can then be trans­por­ted over lar­ge distances even to the remo­test part of the glo­be. This in its­elf is enough reason for con­cern.

In con­trast to known envi­ron­men­tal toxins such as PCB’s, sil­ox­ans are not quick­ly absor­bed and incor­po­ra­ted in the food chain, but tend to stay lon­ger in the atmo­sphe­re. The ques­ti­on if this is good or bad remains to be ans­we­red. It may increase the chan­ce of the com­pounds being bro­ken down natu­ral­ly, which hap­pens under the influence of sun­light during the sum­mer, befo­re they can do harm to orga­nisms. The con­cen­tra­ti­on of sil­ox­ans near 1 nano­gram per cubic met­re of air seems to be low, but is up to 1000 times hig­her than for PCB’s, for exam­p­le, which are known to have nega­ti­ve effects on spe­ci­es such as Polar bears and Glau­cous gulls.

The envi­ron­men­tal con­se­quence of sil­ox­ans still needs to be inves­ti­ga­ted. Detec­ting them in the envi­ron­ment is tech­ni­cal­ly dif­fi­cult, which is one reason why they have been found only recent­ly in air samples from the Arc­tic. The samples were taken on Zep­pe­lin­fjel­let near Ny Åle­sund, Spits­ber­gen.

The air che­mis­try sta­ti­on on Zep­pe­lin­fjel­let near Ny Åle­sund.

Zeppelinfjellet, Ny Ålesund.

Source: Forskning.no



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last modification: 2014-07-01 · copyright: Rolf Stange