Much media attention has recently been devoted to potentially toxic substances disseminated throughout various components of the environment. In almost every case these substances had been manufactured and distributed under the assumption that they did not pose a threat to man. Indeed when tested by methods current at the time of their initial introduction the substances were considered benign. It was only later when technologically advanced and more sensitive methods of analyses were developed that the presence of these substances was considered to be of real concern. Unfortunately, in the interval between introduction and detection, the accumulation of these substances had frequently reached staggering proportions.

Under these circumstances, the problem can no longer be solved by the simple expedient of cessation of production. Methods must be devised to deal with the already accumulated substances. Frequently, because of the urgency, these methods constitute only stop-gap measures which do little more than transfer the pollutants from one environmental component to another while awaiting the development of technology which will permanently neutralize the pollutants.

Note on the Author

Jacek Sulanowski is Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences and Geography.