As Arctic sea ice and snow melt, concerning levels of dangerous “Dirty Dozen” toxins are being released into the air and water, a recent study published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change suggests. The chemicals, known as persistent organic compounds (POPs), include the especially notorious DDT and PCB compounds and were banned in 2001 after their widespread use in pesticides and insecticides caused significant environmental and human health concerns.
Rising temperatures due to climate change may be to blame. “Wide ranges of POPs have been remobilized into the Arctic atmosphere over the past two decades as a result of climate change,” the study concluded.
In addition to causing cancer and birth defects, POPs are difficult to contain as they degrade very slowly and are easily transported between air, soil, and water.