25 Mar '12, 2pm

Plastics in the ocean decompose fast, release toxic chemicals - new study

Plastics in Oceans Decompose, Release Hazardous Chemicals, Surprising New Study Says August 19, 2009 WASHINGTON, Aug. 16, 2009 — In the first study to look at what happens over the years to the billions of pounds of plastic waste floating in the world's oceans, scientists are reporting that plastics — reputed to be virtually indestructible — decompose with surprising speed and release potentially toxic substances into the water. Reporting here today at the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the researchers termed the discovery "surprising." Scientists always believed that plastics in the oceans were unsightly, but a hazard mainly to marine animals that eat or become ensnared in plastic objects. "Plastics in daily use are generally assumed to be quite stable," said study lead researcher Katsuhiko Saido, Ph.D. "We found that plastic in the ocean a...

Full article: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/view.php?id=399...

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