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Pollution at Australia’s largest Antarctic research station exceeded guidelines for

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Pollution at Australia’s largest Antarctic research station, Casey, has exceeded international guidelines for close to 20 years, new research shows.

Analysing marine sediment levels around Casey station between 1997 and 2015, Australian and Canadian scientists found that levels of multiple contaminants exceeded international quality guidelines.

These included arsenic, toxic metals such as lead and cadmium, and persistent organic pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls – highly carcinogenic compounds that have been banned from global production since 2001 but last for long periods in the environment.

Casey is the largest of three research stations managed by the Australian Antarctic Division and one of 112 research stations on the southern continent.

“Antarctic research stations such as Casey are likely to pose a moderate level of long-term ecological risk to local marine ecosystems through marine pollution,” the research found.

The study showed “there can be quite significant impacts from our stations locally”, said Jonathan Stark, the lead author and a principal…

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