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Professor calls for a reduction of chemicals found in the ocean


Industrial chemicals commonly turn up in the world's oceans (courtesy: David Donaldson)
Industrial chemicals commonly turn up in the world's oceans (courtesy: David Donaldson)

Cheryl Santa Maria, staff writer

January 31, 2013 — A University of Rhode Island scientist is asking Congress to pass a law that would limit the amount of chemicals dumped into the world's oceans.

Studies suggest there are approximately 100,000 chemical compounds being used by industry
Studies suggest there are approximately 100,000 chemical compounds being used by industry

The number of pollutants turning up in the world's oceans is growing.

Studies suggest there are approximately 100,000 chemical compounds being used by industry -- and about 1,000 have toxic properties.

Rainer Lohmann, a University of Rhode Island professor, is hoping to control what ends up in the world's oceans by asking the government to pass a Safe Chemicals Act.

"There are thousands of chemical compounds that are used by industry for all sorts of purposes, and it turns out that they aren't well regulated at all,"  Lohmann said at a press briefing.

"No one suggests that all of [the chemicals] are bad, but it doesn't take many of them to create a serious problem."

According to Lohmann, the U.S. has "no effective legislation" to regulate industrial chemical production.

He is calling for a re-evaluation of all chemicals available on the market, starting with the ones that are most frequently used.

"We are living in a world full of unsafe chemicals, and changing the status quo would help a lot,” Lohmann says. 

"I’m a father now, and the last thing I want ... is for my daughter to have adverse effects from chemicals that she shouldn’t even have in her body in the first place."

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