Tuesday, March 14, 2017

15/03/2017: Sea pollution and food safety

By Ioannis Zebetakis, Lecturer on Food Lipids, Limerick, Ireland

On the 13th February, The Guardian (UK) reported [1] that scientists have discovered “extraordinary” levels of toxic pollution in the most remote and inaccessible place on the planet – the 10km deep Mariana trench in the Pacific Ocean 

Ioannis Zebetakis

The story is rather alarming! Crustaceans, captured by a robotic submarine, were found contaminated with 50 times more toxic chemicals than crabs that survive in heavily polluted rivers in China!

The extraordinary levels of these pollutants and the cross-contamination of the food chain brings home the long-term and rather devastating impact that mankind is having on the planet and on the food-chain.

Two key types of severely toxic industrial chemicals that were banned in the late 1970s were identified, they do not break down in the environment and they are known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

These chemicals have previously been found at high levels in Inuit people in the Canadian Arctic and in Orcas and dolphins in Western Europe.

The POPs infiltrate the deepest parts of the oceans as dead animals and particles of plastic fall downwards and they can accumulate in fat tissue.

In this way, POPs are bio-accumulated in living organisms and their levels are magnified in animals, all whilst we’re moving up the food chain.

This phenomenon is called bio-magnification and it is closely related to man-made chemicals that have a very long degradation period in nature [2].

Read the full article HERE.

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