"Navy 'Sinkex' Raises Pollution Fear"

"SAN FRANCISCO -- In 2005, the USS America aircraft carrier was towed out to sea on her final voyage. Hundreds of miles off the Atlantic coast, U.S. Navy personnel then blasted the 40-year-old warship with missiles and bombs until it sank."

"The massive Kitty-Hawk class carrier — more than three football fields long — came to rest in the briny depths about 300 nautical miles southeast of Norfolk, Va.

Target practice is now how the Navy gets rid of most of its old ships, an Associated Press review of Navy records for the past dozen years has found. And they wind up at the bottom of the ocean, bringing with them amounts of toxic waste that are only estimated.

Navy documents state that among the toxic substances left onboard the America were more than 500 pounds of PCBs or polychlorinated biphenyls, a chemical banned by the U.S. in 1979, in part because it is long-lasting and accumulates throughout the food chain. Disposing of the carrier that served in the Vietnam War, Desert Storm and Desert Shield cost more than $22 million."

Jason Dearen reports for the Associated Press March 3, 2012.

Source: AP, 03/05/2012