Daily News Archive
From October 10, 2001

Study Finds Pesticide Contaminants Spread Through Wind and Rain

A recent study by the Texas A&M Geochemical and Environmental Research Group found that pollutants including pesticides could contaminate the environment over long distances, according to Science Daily. The research team consisting of Terry Wade, June-Soo Park and Steve Sweet concluded that pollutants could be deposited through wind and rain long distances from where they were produced or used.

The team set up rain and air samplers near Galveston Bay and Corpus Christi Bay to measure contamination present. They then used models to figure out the amount of pollutants traveling down into the bay itself. Not only did the scientists find pollutants traveling into the bay, but also coming from the bay and polluting other areas. Terry Wade suggested this is a result of small petroleum spills and seepage from petroleum plants into the ocean. The contaminant then enters a gaseous state and travels.

DDT was found to have traveled long distances. This chemical, along with chlordane and toxaphene were found in the Arctic in beluga whales, a site far from where these chemicals are used. "Scientists assumed that when you spray DDT on crops, the insecticides stay in the soil. They might be washed into rivers when it rains and be transported down rivers to coastal areas," Wade says. "To our surprise, we discovered that the pesticide can volatilize into the gaseous state and be transported in the air over long distances fairly rapidly."

Read the full story at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/09/010920070914.htm