| Ocean Today. Ocean Contaminants - :13894 | Education and Outreach | National Ocean Service (NOS)
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Ocean Today. Ocean Contaminants
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Ocean Today. Ocean Contaminants
  • Corporate Authors:
    Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment (U.S.) ; United States, National Ocean Service, ; Smithsonian Institution
  • Description:
    The video is part of the Ocean Today educational video collection (sub-collection: Marine Life). It is with open captions and can be viewed in regular (640 x 36) or high resolution (1280 x 720). Video's transcript: "NARRATOR: Take a look at the items around your house -- your TV, your couch, your clothes, your computer. Many of the materials used to make them contain a chemical that helps prevent them from catching on fire. Great idea right? Well, scientists have started finding traces of these chemicals in places in our environment that they weren't intended to be. When we throw away these household items, they go into landfills. Here they can be exposed to wind and rain that can carry the chemicals into streams, rivers, and ultimately, the ocean. Since we don't know yet what environmental impact this may have, scientists are monitoring these contaminants in different ways. At NOAA, one way is through the Mussel Watch Program. Mussels and oysters are animals that live in both saltwater and freshwater. Scientists took an interest in them because they're filter feeders. That means that they eat by drawing in the surrounding water to get at their microscopic food. Then they expel the filtered water and waste back out. During this process, whatever is in the surrounding water absorbs and builds up in the mussel's tissues. So, if there are chemicals in the water that are hard to detect, studying mussels is a way that scientists can monitor the level of contamination. The Mussel Watch program has been operating at more than 300 coastal sites in the US since 1986. The data collected allows scientists to track changes in water pollution over time. The moral of this story is that some chemicals intended to be helpful may also prove to be harmful. While we don't want our clothes catching fire, we do want to keep our environment free of contaminants."

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