(NaturalNews) DDT, HCB and OPCs. These and numerous other banned pesticides and chemicals are no longer being sold commercially. But does that mean they are no longer a threat to human health? A new study recently released by scientists from Denmark and the U.K. warns that outlawed substances still hiding inside frozen sea ice from the days of old could once again spread throughout the environment on a massive scale, that is, if existing climate change models about melting bergs are correct in their dire predictions.
Coming on the heels of a related Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report dealing with the issue of climate change, this latest study on the potential consequences of melting sea ice looked at atmospheric concentrations of primarily organochlorine pesticides (OPCs) detected at Station Nord in northeast Greenland between the years of 2008 and 2010. This study marks the first instance where testing for such chemicals had taken place at this particular testing station.
After conducting their tests, the scientists identified heavy concentrations of hexachlorobenzene (HCB), endosulfan I and hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs), followed by lesser concentrations of p,p'-DDE, dieldrin and related compounds. But what stands out as even more concerning than their actual detection is how these various chemicals appear to be accumulating, a disastrous phenomenon that scientists say is the direct result of melting sea ice caused by temperature fluctuations.
As it turns out, pockets of banned chemicals that were formerly contained by solid ice are being released as this ice melts. In other words, as temperatures warm in some areas, a Pandora's box of chemicals ends up escaping and rising, only to be re-deposited somewhere else in the world. Depending on wind patterns, these chemicals can end up landing in areas populated by humans.
"The repeated exchange of OPCs between the atmosphere, soil and aqueous compartments in a process known as the 'grasshopper effect' has caused a build up of OPCs in Polar regions," writes Jessica Cocker for Chemistry World. "Previous research has shown that North East Greenland is burdened with considerable levels of pollution."
As far as the study itself, the research team admits that projected increases in rates of warming temperatures could exacerbate the problem moving into the future, as an increasing volume of banned chemicals will potentially be released. Most climate change models thus far have looked primarily at how emission factors will affect the environment, but their consequences for human populations are also a major concern, they say.
"Remobilization of OCPs from sea ice under projected warming temperatures may be an important issue to consider when trying to understand the future effects of these compounds on Arctic ecosystems and populations," says Steve Arnold, an atmospheric composition expert at the University of Leeds in the U.K., as quoted by Chemistry World.
Recent IPCC report actually suggests Earth is cooling, not warming
On the flip side, the corresponding IPCC report, which was issued back in September, suggests that the Earth is actually cooling, not warming. Though the report still maintains that human influence is probably a direct factor in changing climate systems in general -- many credible scientists dispute this claim, however -- the data it contains show that the Earth has not experienced any considerable warming for more than 15 years.
"Despite the fact that the IPCC's previous predictions did not come to pass, the new report argues that human impact on the climate is 'unequivocal' and, given enough time, its predictions will eventually come true," writes Napp Nazworth for The Christian Post about the conflicting report.
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