URI oceanographer appeals for legislation to reduce chemical pollution in oceans

bc2822f9f2c566c939ccef6641a8288c“There are thousands of chemical compounds that are used by industry for all sorts of purposes, and it turns out that they aren’t well regulated at all,” said Rainer Lohmann, a professor in the URI Graduate School of Oceanography.

Though the US Environmental Protection Agency keeps close watch on most environmentally damaging activity in the country, many dangerous chemicals are still in use without regulation or testing before their use. Also, the US has not yet ratified the Stockholm Convention, an international agreement made in 2004 to ban the worst chemical compounds used in the industry.

Currently, with no plans to assess the danger of certain compounds before their use, the country waits to see negative effects on a large scale before regulating compunds. Lohmann believes that changing the status quo on dangerous compounds is the best way to prevent them from further polluting the environment.

“I’ve been studying ocean basins from the Arctic to Antarctica, and I can find legacy compounds present everywhere I look,” said Lohmann.