Sea of chemicals

Published: Monday 31 August 1998

FISH in the Sea of Japan have been found to have high levels of toxic chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBS) and dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane (DDT). A team of researchers led by Shinsuke Tanabe, professor at the Ehime University, Matsuyama, Japan, found blackfish, striped dolphins and killer whales with high contents of PCBS.

They found about 400 microgramsper gram of fat in the body of a whale, which is nearly 4,000 times the density found in land mammals. A microgram is a millionth of a gram.

Tanabe and his colleagues have underscored the need to set up a new framework for international pollution control. PCBS are widely used as insulation for electrical equipment such as transformers and condensers.

However, there are no regulations banning the export of older electrical equipment containing PCBS to countries in Asia, with the exception of large transformers.

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