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Pollution Has Worked Its Way Down To The World's Deepest Waters

The deepest point of the world's oceans, the Mariana Trench in the northern Pacific, was considered to be the most remote location on the planet - untouched by human activity.

But this deep, mysterious trench is now polluted.

7 miles down, scientists have only just begun to explore it. During the first exploration to bring back creatures from the depths, environmental scientists discovered that the shrimp-like animals that live in the frigid depths are "really badly contaminated."

PCBs, toxic chemicals used for decades in industry, and other POP's (Persistent Organic Pollutants) were among the toxins found within the animal's body tissue.

"Every sample we had," biologist Alan Jamieson explains, "had contaminants in it at very high or extraordinarly high levels."

How high? He compared the levels to crabs living in the waters fed by China's most polluted rivers.

So what does this mean for you? Well, first consider that PCBs and POPs are not tested for, or regulated in Canadian tap water. The city does not even have to check for them. This means that whether they are present or not, they can legally tell you the water is safe - simply because there is no regulation. This is a loophole many municipalities use across Canada to get away with minimal effort and cost to filter city water. "If it's not required to test for, we don't have to test for it. We don't test for it, we can't tell you it is or isn't there."

The evidence that it is there is overwhelming. In 1998, a $70-Million study called The Fraser River Action Plan discovered that PCBs and POPs from Asia, including Toxaphene and DDT, were coming over to BC in the rain.

The study looked at native fish along the Fraser River and Lakes, including Kamloops Lake and Nicola Lake. The Toxaphene concentrations were 600 ppb in the burbot fish's liver, well above the levels of 6.3 ppb considered safe by the federal government.

No water on this planet is pure, unless you purify it yourself with Reverse Osmosis.

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