Analysis of Temporal Trends in Persistent Organic Pollutants in
Analysis of Temporal Trends in Persistent Organic Pollutants in Air, Water, Food Chain and Humans in United States
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are synthetic organic chemicals, which are persistent in environment. Its long-range transport leads to global pollution. These materials are lipophilic and they are accumulated in the food chain as they are found in fish and marine mammals (Arnot & Gobas, 2006). These toxic materials are spread in environment through different human activities. They pose adverse effects on air, water, food chain and humans. In United States, over the last two decades there has been a continuous declining trend in persistent organic pollutants due to a multitude of actions taken by the government. As chemical compounds, Persistent Organic Pollutants, can last into the environment for decades and years, as they are very stable. POPs can accumulate in the human body and food chain through predatory birds, fishes, humans, and mammals, as they are bio-accumulative. The effects on them are a result of the contamination of air and water (Arnot & Gobas, 2003).
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in United States
In United States, various studies have identified that the abundance of POPs to the enhancement of abnormalities and diseases in human beings, fishes, birds and mammals. Effects on wildlife pose threats to the human health. Any abnormality and disease associated with wildlife means a signal for human being as well. For example, in case of the Great Lakes, birth defects and behavioral abnormalities in birds, fish and mammals inclined scientists to investigate its effects on the population of human beings.
The process of bio-magnification can be understood by the changing trend in POPs. The POPs are transferred from the food chain through the accumulation of the substance in the body fat. In United States, these semi-volatile organic compounds (POPs) are primarily derived from the changing temperature. It is due to the fact that temperature is important source which makes the atmospheric concentration on air-water partitioning. In United States, as per the diurnal and daily scale there is important variability due to several sources like influence of Carbon Cycle on POP concentration (dissolved-phase) and changing air masses.
Sources of POPS in United States
In United States, there are numerous chemical substances that are the main sources of POPs. There are primarily 12 of such chemicals on which different countries of the world are trying to take action. These 12 chemical substances were also highlighted in various international treaties including the most famous Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. This convention has highlighted these most hazardous 12 chemicals, whose production and usage must be eliminated (Arnot, Meylan &Tunkel, 2009) . These 12-targeted chemicals include two industrial chemicals (hexachlorobenzene and polychlorinated), 8 pesticides (DDT, Aldrin, Endrin, Dieldrin, Mirex, Heptachlor and Taxophene), two unintended by products of chemical families (Durans and Dioxins). United States as being part of this Convention is also endeavoring to eliminate its production and usage.
Method to Quantify POPs
There are several methods to quantify POPS. Amongst these methods, perturbed air-surface coupled model is widely used. Under the specified climatic change condition, it is used to predict and simulate the perturbation of POP concentration. Various numerical experiments can be conducted to identify future possible climatic change conditions.
Changes in Trends of Production of Pops and Deposition & Disintegration
In United States, over the last two decades there has been a continuous declining trend in persistent organic pollutants. During the early 90s, there has been uprising trend in the production of various kind of POPs like PAH and HCB, while in the late 90s there has been a steep decline in the production of HCB (Lambert & Rostock, 2011).
The graph highlights various kind of persistent organic pollutants used in various aspects of life in United States in the year 2010. According to the graph, it depicts that the highest production of POPs is there in industrial processes.
Changes in Deposition
The deposition, as suggested from the above graphs, is decreasing year by year in United States. POPs are deposited through runoff, atmospheric deposition, effluent releases to the freshwater and marine ecosystem. In aquatic sediments, they have the ability to bond with different matters due to its quality of low water solubility (Becker & Scheringer, 2011). For POPs, sediments work as sink or reservoirs. POPs have the ability of being away from circulation for a larger time, when it is sequestered in these sediments. They can become global and local source of contamination in the water and air if they are disturbed, which inclines it to be reintroduced into the food chain and ecosystem.
Actions by United States to Control POPs
The government of United States have taken several strong actions and made numerous regulations to restrict the use and sale of the POPs highlighted in the Stockholm Convention. Its distribution, sale and production are considered a criminal activity. Additionally, there has been restriction on the making of PCB in the year 1978 by the Congress. After the year 1987, United States has done some severe reduction in EPA and ensured leased environmental releases of furans and dioxins to air, land and water. This action by the government and the voluntary action by the industry resulted in 85% decrease in the release of furan and dioxin after 1987 (Atkinson, 1988).
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are on a declining trend in United States from the last two decades. POPs can accumulate in the human body and food chain through predatory birds, fishes, humans, and mammals, as they are bio-accumulative. Perturbed air-surface coupled model is widely used method to quantify POPs. The government of United States have taken several strong actions and made numerous regulations to restrict the use and sale of the POPs highlighted in the Stockholm Convention. Its distribution, sale and production are considered a criminal activity.
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