Poly Chlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) – A family of 209 chlorine-based compounds with a similar chemical structure. They were used for many decades as a non-flammable fluid for insulating electrical transforms. Some companies also used them in making certain hydraulic fluids, lubricants and inks. Their production has been banned in North America and many countries throughout the world since around 1980.
What’s the problem?
Plastic in the ocean – from a new global study of plastics floating in the oceans, scientists estimate the seas contain about 5.25 trillion pieces of this trash. Its combined weight: an estimated 269,000 metric tons. 5 Gyres Institute in Los Angeles, Calif. looks for solutions to problems caused by plastic trash. Plastics can work like sponges, soaking up and storing toxic chemicals. These include PCBs, pesticides and flame retardants. When ingested, such plastic can release the pollutants, triggering health problems.
- contaminant – Pollutant; a chemical, biological or other substance that is unwanted or unnatural in an environment such as water, soil, air, or food. Some contaminants may be harmful in the amounts at which they occur or if they are allowed to build up in the body over time.