Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
by Staff Writers
Cambridge, Mass. (UPI) Jun 27, 2012
U.S. researchers say they have discovered high concentrations of lead in the Indian Ocean despite leaded gasoline having been slowly phased out worldwide.
While leaded gasoline usage has decreased drastically in the last few decades, lead is still pervasive in the environment, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported.
MIT ocean geochemist Ed Boyle has been tracking lead and other trace elements in Earth's oceans for the past 30 years and recently has analyzed water and coral samples from the Indian Ocean, using the coral to trace the history of anthropogenic lead over the last 50 years.
Lead concentrations in the Indian Ocean are now higher than in the northern Atlantic and northern Pacific oceans, Boyle and students from MIT's Trace Metal Group said.
One reason, Boyle said, could be that Asian and African countries were behind North America and Europe both in industrialization and then in phasing out leaded gasoline.
The Indian Ocean has had less time than the Atlantic and Pacific to dissipate lead pollution as a result, he said.
Reconstructing a history of lead in the Indian Ocean over the last 50 years, the researchers found lead levels began to increase in the mid-1970s, consistent with the region's pattern of industrialization and leaded gasoline use.
"It is an indication of the human footprint on the planet that essentially all the lead in the oceans now is from human activities," Boyle said in an MIT release. "It's very hard to find a trace of the lead that's there naturally."
Today, 185 countries have stopped using leaded gasoline.
Studies have shown lead can cause neurological and cardiovascular damage.
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|