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Our Collective Blind Spot to Synthetic Chemical Contamination

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We are really focused on carbon emissions, and while that is positive, we are overlooking a very dangerous source of environmental contamination. We produce and disseminate huge amounts of synthetic chemicals, and very little attention is paid to how they effect our environment.

In a recent study by Emma Rosi and Mark Gessner, this largely unnoticed source of environmental contamination is brought to the forefront. Every year we produce a huge amount of things like pharmaceuticals, pesticides and industrial chemicals, and there is little if any attention paid to their environmental impact.

We know for certain that many kinds of pesticides are toxic to both human and animal life, and yet, we do little to monitor their effects on our environment.

Ms. Rosi commented on this, and also stated that we are producing ever more chemicals globally, and no attention is being paid to them at all.

With more than 80,000 different kinds of synthetic chemicals being manufactured in ever-increasing quantities it would seem to be a good idea to have some sort of idea of their environmental impact.

Unfortunately, very, very little is done to monitor the effects of these chemicals, and even within the scientific community there is essentially no research being done.

The National Science Foundation, a body responsible for funding environmental research, spends less than 0.01% of its budget on the study of the impact of synthetic chemicals and the environment.

However, man made chemicals easily fit into the classification for Agents of Global Change, as defined by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, and we are producing them in record amounts.

Clearly this is an area that need to be talked about, and while we are all too aware of our problems with carbon emissions, we are clearly overlooking an area of human emissions that could be even more damaging.

With the massive hole in our body of knowledge, we simply can’t know.

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