Traces of sunscreen also found in arctic snow – Terra e Poli –


Traces of sunscreens and other personal care products have also been found at extreme latitudes in the snow of the Arctic: a group of researchers led by the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice discovered them thanks to a study carried out on five glaciers of the Svalbard archipelago, in which the Institute of Polar Sciences of the National Research Council also participated .

The collected data, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, will contribute to the protection of the local ecosystem: especially in view of the increasingly high melting of the Arctic ice due to global warming, which will reintroduce these contaminating compounds into the environment, which have already shown adverse effects on aquatic organisms and which are currently under investigation by the European Union.

Scientists led by Marianna D’Amico, also thanks to the collaboration with the Italian research station Dirigibile Italia in Ny Ålesund, collected many samples from Arctic glaciers between April and May 2021: the results revealed the presence of various compounds such as scents and UV filters due to contaminated air masses coming from Eurasia, which can more easily reach the Arctic at the end of winter.

“This is the first time that many of the analyzed contaminants, such as benzophenone-3, octocrylene, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate and ethylhexyl salicylate, have been identified in Arctic snow,” comments D’Amico. “It will be essential to understand the phenomenon of transport and deposition of these contaminants in polar regions, especially in relation to variations in local seasonal conditions,” adds Andrea Spolaor of Isp-Cnr, co-author of the study: “Conditions that are changing rapidly in response to climate change, which occurs four times faster in the Arctic than in the rest of the world.”

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