"African Dust Bringing Toxic Chemicals to U.S., Caribbean"

"It's one of those increasingly frequent stories demonstrating that ecologically, the whole globe is connected -- and why that's not always a good thing:

Pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and polychlorinated biphenyls are among the contaminants hitching an airborne ride to the United States and other parts of the Western Hemisphere on dust storms blowing out of West Africa. That's according to new research presented at the just-completed annual meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

The findings are worrisome because some of the chemicals carried on the trade winds originating in Africa are persistent in the environment, they bioaccumulate, and they are known to be toxic at low concentrations, said U.S. Geological Survey researcher Ginger Garrison, who presented the findings at the SETAC conference in New Orleans.

It's been known for some time now that dust storms blowing off North Africa make their way across the Atlantic and deposit fine particles of dust. I covered that in my Florida days, the Sunshine State being the U.S. region getting the highest concentrations of the superfine dust."

Robert McClure reports in Dateline Earth for Investigate West November 24, 2009.

Source: Dateline Earth, 11/25/2009