The results of a 6-year study of more than 150 contaminants in representative western US national parks are expected to be released shortly. Some of the substances of concern likely will include PBDEs, pesticides, PCBs, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, mercury, and particulate carbon.
The main parks covered in the Western Airborne Contaminants Assessment Project include 5 in the lower 48 states (Glacier, Mt. Rainier, Olympic, Rocky Mountain, and Sequoia) and 3 in AK (Denali, Gates of the Arctic, and Noatak). The researchers measured contaminants in many settings, including vegetation, snow, lake water, sediments, fish, and even moose, and looked at both distribution of the contaminants and their sources.
Vegetation testing was also conducted at 12 other national parks (Bandelier, Big Bend, Crater Lake, Glacier Bay, Grand Teton, Great Sand Dunes, Katmai, Lassen, North Cascades, Tongass, Wrangell-St. Elias, and Yosemite).
Among the researchers are people from the National Park Service, EPA, US Geological Survey, US Forest Service, Oregon State Univ., and Univ. of Washington.