‘Forever chemicals,’ other pollutants found around the summit of Everest

Researcher Marius Potocki, as he was gathering samples of snow and ice at the summit of Mount Everest, discovered a “massive climber traffic jam” just above him. As climber populations continue to rise causing fatal accidents, the level of PFAS, per-and polyfluorinated substances that do not break down in the environment, contaminate drinking water sources, and bioaccumulate in fish and wildlife, is also rising. Kimberley Miner, an assistant research professor at the University of Maine Climate Change Institute, coordinated the research remotely from the United States. She realized that the results from the research showed that there were consistently very high levels of PFAS on Mount Everest. Rainer Lohmann, of URI GSO and director of the University of Rhode Island STEEP program focused on PFAS, gives his perspective on the matter. “Everest is treasured very highly as a unique monument for the globe,” he said. “It’s kind of sad to see very high concentrations at some places on the mountain. We say, ‘Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints,’ but we leave chemicals.” Read the article in the Washington Post here.