As the Earth faces the worst-case scenario due to pollution, climate change, and global warming, researchers continue to find shocking stuff.
The recent discovery puts the Arctic in the corner because it is apparently leaking high concentrations of ‘forever chemicals,” also known as PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances). The situation is getting worse, as a new study unveiled the growing pace of Arctic ice melt is leaking more and more PFAS into the environment.
Here is what you need to know.
The Arctic Threatens Earth
The problem is that Earth warms up and cycles of freezing and melting create something similar to pockets of highly saline ocean water containing PFAS into tiny pools. And as if it wasn’t worse enough, the chemicals are eventually released into general circulation.
New study insights
To examine better how the forever chemicals are likely to be released, a team of researchers came up with a method via an artificial sea-ice room to run controlled experiments.
Next, they measured the movement of PFAS between ice and water during phase variations.
“The changing nature of sea ice, with earlier and erratic periods of thaw, could be altering the processing and release of pollutants alongside key nutrients, which in turn affects biota at the base of the marine food web,” explains environmental chemist Crispin Halsall from Lancaster University in the UK.
The team found that as the ice melts, the water transports a significant amount of the salts dissolved in it. And that portion comprises a huge percentage of forever chemicals that consisted largely of shorther chain types.
Moreover, when the meltwater became fresher, the forever chemicals were somewhat bigger. This matter affects the environment and the organisms in direct contact with the ice that sometimes feed on the brine channels of the ice. Soon, they’ll be more and more exposed to these chemicals.
Researchers will continue their work to figure out more things.