A file photo from 2012 showing Alan Jamieson, from the University of Aberdeen, with a supergiant amphipod.  Most amphipods are normally around 2-3cm long.
A file photo from 2012 showing Alan Jamieson, from the University of Aberdeen, with a supergiant amphipod. Most amphipods are normally around 2-3cm long. EPA/ABERDEEN UNIVERSITY

Toxic PCBs deep in sea, despite ban

TOXIC chemicals that were banned in the 1970s have been discovered at "extraordinary” levels in the bodies of sea creatures living at the bottom of the deepest ocean trench in the world.

Scientists were stunned to discover that high levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and other persistent organic pollutants were found more than 10km below sea level in the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean about 1300km from the nearest major land mass, Japan.

And a similar situation was found about 7000km away in the 10km deep Kermadec Trench about 1500km north of New Zealand, the researchers reported in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.

Study leader Alan Jamieson said: "The fact that we found such extraordinary levels of these pollutants in one of the most remote and inaccessible habitats on Earth really brings home the long term, devastating impact mankind is having on the planet. It's not a great legacy.

"We still think of the deep ocean as being this remote and pristine realm, safe from human impact.”

Amphipod sea creatures had contamination similar to those in Suruga Bay, Japan that Dr Jamieson described as "one of the most polluted industrial zones of the north-west Pacific”. - INM



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