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Biogeochemistry of persistent bioaccumulative toxicants: processes affecting the transport of contaminants to remote areas

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Abstract:

We release a very wide variety of synthetic chemicals to the environment. The persistence, environmental behavior, and toxicity of these chemicals will determine the severity of their impacts on our ecosystems. In some cases, contaminated areas are far from the source of pollution. The study of contaminants in remote environments, however, provides important information about a chemical's environmental behavior. For example, when anthropogenic chemicals are recorded in very remote arctic environments, we know that these chemicals arrived by long-range transport. When we examine contaminants on a global scale, we observe a global distribution that is not random, but rather represents a systematic geochemical behavior that is affected by atmospheric and ocean transport, deposition from the atmosphere, and concentration in food chains. This paper reviews the nature and processes involved in long-range transport of chemicals to remote environments and explores some of the pathways taken by persistent bioaccumulative toxicants following their release.

Les humains relâchent une grande variété de composés chimiques synthétiques dans l'environnement. La persistance, le comportement dans le milieu et la toxicité de ces produits déterminent la sévérité de leur impact sur les écosystèmes. Dans quelques cas, les zones contaminées se situent loin des sources de pollution. L'étude des contaminants dans les milieux éloignés fournit cependant des renseignements importants sur le comportement des contaminants dans l'environnement. Ainsi, lorsque des contaminants d'origine humaine se retrouvent dans des milieux arctiques très retirés, on sait que ces produits chimiques y ont été apportés par un transport sur de grandes distances. L'examen des contaminants à l'échelle globale révèle non pas une répartition aléatoire sur le globe, mais plutôt un comportement géochimique systématique qui est affecté par le transport atmosphérique et océanique, par la déposition atmosphérique et par la concentration dans les chaînes alimentaires. On trouvera ici un examen rétrospectif de la nature du transport de longue distance des produits chimiques vers les milieux éloignés et des processus qui sont impliqués; il y a aussi une exploration de quelques-unes des voies suivies par les produits toxiques bioaccumulables persistants après leur introduction dans l'environnement.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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