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University of Iowa researchers have found high levels of toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the deep sediments lining the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal (IHSC) in East Chicago, Ind. Scientists say the discovery is cause for concern because the IHSC is scheduled to be dredged in spring 2012 to maintain proper depth for ship traffic in this heavily industrialized area of southern Lake Michigan.
The study, published online in the journal Chemosphere on Sept. 6, builds upon a previous UI study that found the release of PCBs from the sediment floor to the water above, and then, to the air. This time, scientists drilled down into the floor of the canal and discovered that the concentration of PCBs buried within the sediment is even higher.