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Earth Science

Paint Dust Covers the Upper Layer of the World's Oceans 141

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the zooplankton-love-fiberglass dept.
sciencehabit (1205606) writes Even when the sea looks clean, its surface can be flecked with tiny fragments of paint and fiberglass. That's the finding from a study that looked for plastic pollution in the uppermost millimeter of ocean. The microscopic fragments come from the decks and hulls of boats, and they could pose a threat to zooplankton, an important part of the marine food web.
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Paint Dust Covers the Upper Layer of the World's Oceans

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  • slowly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by polar red (215081) on Friday August 08, 2014 @12:42PM (#47631623)

    We're slowly poisoning ourselves. At one point, there will be NO turning back. Scientists have warned us enough!

  • Re: slowly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by C0R1D4N (970153) on Friday August 08, 2014 @12:46PM (#47631655)
    Or it is alarmism. Could threaten zooplankton doesn't mean it will or is likely to. Take every news story with some skepticism.
  • by mcrbids (148650) on Friday August 08, 2014 @01:02PM (#47631797) Journal

    It's important not to accept any input as pure fact on its face. It's equally important to accept facts that are verified, even if inconvenient. Far too often, "healthy skepticism" is another way to say "inconvenient so LA LA LA LA LA (fingers in ears)".

    Fact is that micro pollutants are just now entering the threshold of human understanding - and it's a bigger problem than just about anybody guessed.

  • Yes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tomxor (2379126) on Friday August 08, 2014 @01:05PM (#47631823)

    If your food ends up with components of the paint in it that turn out to be mildly carcinogenic... there's this thing called the food chain.

    There is also a problem with plastics entering the food chain in a similar way.

  • Re: slowly (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 08, 2014 @01:12PM (#47631881)

    We'll have to see what the effect ends up being; but there is reason to be a bit concerned about marine paint. Hull fouling is a drag and people go to some lengths to avoid it. Hull paints formulated to slow fouling are quite common and work by being enthusiastically biocidal.

  • Re: slowly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Friday August 08, 2014 @01:14PM (#47631905)

    Or it is alarmism. Could threaten zooplankton doesn't mean it will or is likely to. Take every news story with some skepticism.

    The problem with alarmism is that it makes people skeptical about everything, even real problems. After people read so many stories about the worlds glaciers melting by 2030, and the giant continent sized island of trash in the Pacific, and then later find out that these are wild hyperbole, they stop taking anything seriously. People like Al Gore, that try to scare people into action by exaggerating problems, do a great disservice. We are all better off just telling the truth.

  • Re: slowly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dywolf (2673597) on Friday August 08, 2014 @01:22PM (#47631999)

    because the conclusions of Silent Spring are somehow invalid and pesticides are so safe you could just gobble them up willy nilly?

    some of the people decrying the human impact on the world may be alarmist or overreacting, but they are far less dangerous than those who try to say that there's no impact, nothing is wrong, and everything is/will be fine, so stop worrying.

    you can try to impugn one side by saying bias, and defend the other by again claiming bias, but that's irrelevent. the science says what it will, and if you follow the science, that's all that matters. in the case of evolution, global warming, or vaccines the science says "its real", "its happening" and "they work". end of story.

    in this new avenue of research the science doesnt say a whole lot yet. its only just started to ask the question, the question being, paraphrased, "is there potential harm here to plankton from particulates in the very top most layer?". there's already been questions asked about the micro-plastics we flush into the water daily (espcially the new fad of plastic microbeads in soaps) that can make it through water treatment plants into the rivers or lakes or oceans, and evidence found that they can buildup in and eventually block fish gills. so this is then related to that line of thinking, but is a new question itself. and it's a good question because plankton is one of the most important (if not THE most important) classes of life on Earth. its the very first link in the food chain for a majority of life on Earth. Further its also the primary producer of oxygen, both atmospheric and water-dissolved, which is fairly important too.

  • Re:Holy shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dywolf (2673597) on Friday August 08, 2014 @01:25PM (#47632023)

    remember how kids eating chips of lead based paint ended up with physiological damage because of the chemials dissolving and entering their tissues?

    same concept.
    just smaller chips.
    and a much larger affected biomass.

  • Re: slowly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Grim Reefer (1162755) on Friday August 08, 2014 @02:05PM (#47632369)

    because the conclusions of Silent Spring are somehow invalid and pesticides are so safe you could just gobble them up willy nilly?

    Don't be stupid. There's a profound difference between using something responsibly and being a complete moron. Drinking too much water can kill you. Mercury can kill you, but we put it in CFL fluorescent lamps. Many cleaning products are toxic. Do you have a hard time not drinking or eating them?

    Many of the conclusions in Silent Spring are questionable, at best [thenewatlantis.com] I'm sure there is validity to some, or even much of it. But that's how you make a good lie, isn't it? I'd like to think that Rachel Carson had the best of intentions with this book. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    you can try to impugn one side by saying bias, and defend the other by again claiming bias, but that's irrelevent. the science says what it will, and if you follow the science, that's all that matters.

    Science doesn't say anything. It's our, as a race, interpretations of what we observe. It doesn't take sides or have opinions. If the observations are wrong, then most of the time the conclusions are also wrong.

    in the case of evolution, global warming, or vaccines the science says "its real", "its happening" and "they work". end of story.

    There is no "end of story". Yes vaccines work. But that doesn't mean we should stop. They can always work better, or be improved. Some vaccines have had terrible side effects in the past. We should keep working to improve them.

    Obviously AWG is occurring. But if it's "end of story" we should stop spending money on proving it further, shouldn't we? But it's a very complex problem, and all of the politics and money involved on both sides has clouded this issue almost beyond comprehension. As if it wasn't difficult enough without all the noise.

    Scientific theories are disproved, revised and improved upon all the time. That's the very nature of science. There is no "end of story". It's a journey, not a destination. How many scientific theories have lasted 500 years? 100 years? Or even 50 years?

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday August 08, 2014 @02:15PM (#47632461) Homepage Journal

    The logo is Dick Cheney in a Hummer H-2 running over small woodland creatures while dumping unused barrels of Agent Orange out of the Hummer's trunk and lighting the rainforest on fire with a flamethrower.

    That is so fucking totally unfair. Agent Orange is a Monsanto product.

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