Old DDT Migrating North

Photo by Fundamentaldan, courtesy Wikipedia

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Here’s the trouble with emissions. They’ve got killer hangovers. Take DDT. Not only is it still with us, it’s actually increasing in the western North Atlantic—despite 30 years of restrictions on its use.

A modelling study published in Geophysical Research Letters finds substantial quantities of the pesticide still being released from the World Ocean. And though most DDT use today occurs in the southern hemisphere, concentrations are growing in the northern hemisphere as the old stuff cycles between oceans and atmosphere.

In fact, this study’s computer model, simulating DDT circulation between ocean and atmosphere from 1950 to 2002, suggests the regurgitation of old DDT from the ocean is now greater than from ongoing sources of DDT.

Plus the stuff’s migrating north and has been since the 1960s. Says the paper:

“The sea region that has been representing the most significant (secondary) DDT source is the western N Atlantic (Gulf stream and N Atlantic Drift regions).”

More bad news for a heavily populated part of the world and all the marine life left in those once heavily populated waters.
 

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate