A new study has found a measurable presence of the chemical Dechlorane Plus in the Great Lakes. While the chemical has been used for over forty years in the coating for electrical wires and computer cables, an official with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said that it would likely never be approved if it were a new chemical. The findings, first released in an academic study in the journal of the American Chemical Society, found the chemical in the atmosphere, in walleye fish, and Great Lakes sediments, suggesting that it has penetrated the biosphere.
Unfortunately, there are limited studies on the toxic effects of the chemical, although those that have been conducted have shown that the chemical has ecotoxicological effects in fish and that it affects reproduction in rabbits. The chemical has a similar make up to Mirex, a pesticide manufactured by OxyChem that was banned because it is considered by the National Institutes of Health to be a human carcinogen. Because of Dechlorane Plus’ age, it has never been subject to the EPA testing regime faced by other chemicals. It is also worth noting that OxyChem was once known as Hooker Chemical, the company that was responsible for the Love Canal chemical-waste deposit.
Dechlorane Plus is just one of 362 chemicals identified in quantifiable amounts in the Great Lakes. Some of the more toxic chemicals include PCBs, Dioxins, Mercury, and DDT, all of which cause a variety of cancers and other health problems.