PerspectiveEnvironmental Science

Tracking Marine Pollution

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Science  03 May 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6132, pp. 556-558
DOI: 10.1126/science.1235197

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Visit a beach almost anywhere and you will see plastic waste floating in the water and heaped above the tide lines. That debris is both a source and an overt signal of the even more pervasive contamination of marine biota by persistent chemicals. Present at ultra-trace levels but often highly toxic, chemical pollutants can be challenging to measure and understand. As the most problematic compounds biomagnify in food chains, sampling of marine top predators yields a global picture of ocean pollution.