Unexploded munitions in oceans causing leak of cancer-causing toxins

February 19th, 2009 - 4:05 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Feb 19 (ANI): A new research has found evidence unexploded munitions in oceans are leaking cancer-causing materials and endangering sea life.

The research trip, to Puerto Rico, was undertaken by ecologist James Porter, who took samples from underwater nuclear bomb target USS Killen.

Though he had expected to find evidence of radioactive matter, what he found instead was a link to cancer.

Data revealed that the closer corals and marine life were to unexploded bombs from the World War II vessel and the surrounding target range, the higher the rates of carcinogenic materials.

Unexploded bombs are in the ocean for a variety of reasons some were duds that did not explode, others were dumped in the ocean as a means of disposal, said Porter.

And we now know that these munitions are leaking cancer-causing materials and endangering sea life, he added.

Data has been gathered since 1999 on the eastern end of the Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico a land and sea area that was used as a naval gunnery and bombing range from 1943-2003.

Research revealed that marine life including reef-building corals, feather duster worms and sea urchins closest to the bomb and bomb fragments had the highest levels of toxicity.

In fact, carcinogenic materials were found in concentrations up to 100,000 times over established safe limits.

This danger zone covered a span of up to two meters from the bomb and its fragments.

According to research conducted in Vieques, residents here have a 23 percent higher cancer rate than do Puerto Rican mainlanders.

Porter said that a future step will be to determine the link from unexploded munitions to marine life to the dinner plate.

While Porter believes every nation with a coastline has problems with unexploded munitions, there is a solution.

With the creation of the Ordinance Recovery System, we now have a way to safely remove unexploded munitions, he said.

The machine picks up unexploded bombs off the sea floor and delivers them safely to a lift basket for surface disposal or deep sea burial.

It is operated remotely with proportional toggle switches that allow much more fine control of the delicate undersea operation than an on/off button.

When you remove the bomb, you remove the problem but youve got to pick it up, said Porter. (ANI)

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