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9 February, 2002

POPs : Persistent Organic Pollutants POPs are chemicals that have been made by humans or result from human activity. Here is a definition of the words making up their name:

Persistent: existing for a long time

Organic: based on carbon, an element in living organisms

Pollutants: potentially harmful chemicals that are produced or released by human activity.

POPs have been called "hand-me-down poisons that threaten wildlife and people" (World Wildlife Fund). The United Nations Environment Programme lists twelve of them as "The Dirty Dozen." More than one hundred of the world's countries have been working on a treaty to ban the production and use of these chemicals. In May 2001, diplomats from around the world came to Stockholm, Sweden, to sign an agreement to limit POPs. (This agreement needs to be ratified by the governments of at least fifty countries in order to go into effect).

This is a complicated subject, so a special website was created before this expedition to Antarctica. For more information about POPs and about the work of the POPs team here at Palmer Station, please visit the website "Polar Science Science". There is a feature called "POP Goes Antarctica?". This contains information about the project. This has a more detailed explanation about these pollutants, their effects, and the treaty now being considered by countries around the world.

The Project: http://literacynet.org/polar/pop/html/project-pops.html

Learning Activities http://literacynet.org/polar/pop/html/activities.html

The Locations: http://literacynet.org/polar/pop/html/locations.html

The top webpage of Polar Science Station has links to many other interesting things about polar science. You can learn a lot about the Arctic region as well as Antarctica. The National Science Foundation supports interesting scientific research in many places in the polar regions. http://literacynet.org/polar

The creation and maintenance of the Polar Science Station website and its feature "POP Goes Antarctica?" is supported by the National Institute for Literacy, Science & Numeracy Special Collection. http://literacynet.org/sciencelincs

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