Chemistry

The Effects of Tributyltin on the Marine Environment

Pollutants that resist breakdown and accumulate in the food chain are of great concern because they are consumed or absorbed by fish and other marine wildlife, which in turn are consumed by humans (NOAA, 2003). One of the most dangerous and controversial contaminants today is tributyltin (TBT). Tributyltin is one of the most poisonous substances to be released to the aquatic environment (Knutzen, 1995). It is used in many of the world’s marine paints to keep barnacles, seaweed, and other organisms from clinging to ships.

Persistent Organic Pollutants

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are an environmental and health threat to oceanic and land creatures as well as humans. They are man-made substances that are primarily carried through air and water currents. POPs settle in colder climates in the Arctic, such as Alaska where the temperatures reach below freezing. The contaminants rest there for long periods of time because the cold climate prevents them from breaking down. This is the main reason why POPs transfer from water to soil to plants onto animals and into humans.

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