Toxic chemicals

A team of scientists has discovered that even the deepest parts of the world's oceans are not safe from toxic pollution.

Marine ecologists from Newcastle University have observed very high levels of banned toxic industrial chemicals called persistent organic compounds (POPs) at the bottom of the 10km deep Mariana trench.

The ban on these chemicals, originally introduced in the 1970s, simply does not go far enough. Many industrial plants still clean their machinery and equipment using harmful hydrocarbon-based solvent chemicals that were developed decades ago.

Most maintenance engineers are unaware that safer water-based alternatives are now available.

Bans, similar to those introduced in the UK, the US and France, prohibiting the use of microbead exfoliants in cosmetic products like face washes, should be applied to a wider range of industrial chemicals.

Richard Bastable, Global Parts Cleaning Innovation Platform Leader, NCH Europe, comments: “My advice to maintenance staff is to combine safer chemicals with better cleaning technologies that don't rely on solvents to dissolve stubborn deposits but rather use high pressure jets of water-based cleaning liquids.

“This approach extends the life of the chemicals used in industry, meaning that fewer toxic chemicals find their way into our rivers, waterways and oceans.”

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