Octachlorostyrene in Lake Ontario: sources and fates
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The concentration of octachlorostyrene (OCS) was measured in dated segments of 11 sediment cores taken from Lake Ontario in order to establish the depositional history of this compound in the lake. Using this information, we have deduced that OCS (as well as other chlorinated styrenes and chlorinated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) originates primarily from the waste product of electrolytic chlorine production. This waste, called taffy, resulted from the chlorination of the tar or pitch used to bind graphite electrodes; its improper disposal led to the introduction of chlorinated aromatic compounds into the environment. OCS is present in all major sediment depositional areas of Lake Ontario and may be subject to biomagnification. Although OCS exhibited no toxicity or mutagenicity in a bacterial bioassay, the longterm environmental impact of chlorinated styrenes is still unknown.