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Topic in Environmental Chemistry - Essay Example

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Hudson River, known today as contaminated and is subjected to the most expensive, largest, most innovative environmental clean-up projects in US history. It is a 517 kilometer river that stretches from north to south, once an inspiration by great artist due to its magnificent…
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Topic in Environmental Chemistry
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Download file to see previous pages 2). They are usually made of 60-90 different congeners. PCBs with high number of chlorine tend to be more stable and resistant to biodegradation and favored by many industries, thus higher health and environmental risks. It is used by industries as insulation fluid in capacitors, transformers and electrical systems. Due to industrialization and constant dumping of PCBs by the factories surrounding the river, it is accumulated deeply into the sediments found at the bottom, can easily spread though out the river once disturbed and caused bioaccumulation in the food chain, from the aquatic plants, microorganisms, fishes then to humans. PCBs are harmful to human health and it is believed to cause several diseases to those who consumed contaminated fishes and water such as male sterility, birth defects and reproductive disorders, liver dysfunction, headache and fatigue (Barbalace par. 3-4).
Sources of PCBs in the Hudson River were traced using analytical chemistry techniques that provided congener specific analysis of Aroclors. Aroclors are trade name of some commercial PCB mixture and can be used to trace their company manufacturer. This method provided information to the scientists on how PCBs behave in various media, a cutting edge scientific technique was used to determine the sources and destinations of PCBs (Manning part 1 par. 7). Aside from recycling mills with a dumping rate of 2.3 kg/year, General Electric Company, having two manufacturing plant in Fort Edward and Hudson Falls, New York, was the major source of PCBs with a dumping rate of 5000kg/yr into the Hudson River. For twenty five years, (1952 to 1977) GE has been dumping PCBs into the Hudson River, which made the PCBs accumulated in the seabed through the years and contaminating the fishes and other aquatic resources which people consume and considered a great health and environmental risk (Manning part 1 par. 8-10).
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