Photographs Confirm Long Rumored DDT Dump Site Off of California Coast

A research team led by University of California marine scientist David Valentine has confirmed a large toxic dumping ground off the coast of California between Long Beach and Catalina Island.

Underwater photographs show dozens of DDT-laced barrels decaying on the sea floor just 10 miles off the coast. DDT is a toxic insecticide that was banned by the EPA in 1972. The presence of the barrels explains the explosive cancer rates among sea lions in the area. Experts say swimmers are not at risk, but the dumping ground poses serious problems for the ecosystem.

With years of rumor confirmed, the next step will be to determine just how many barrels of DDT there are. Valentine estimates it could be half a million.

It isn’t entirely clear where the barrels came from, but Valentine and others suspect a defunct company called Montrose Chemical Corp may be the culprit. MCC was previously found guilty of dumping millions of pounds of DDT into LA county sewers.

“I was shocked when I heard that a company was allowed to dump thousands of barrels of DDT waste off the coast of California decades ago. Even more concerning is these barrels of toxic waste were ignored for so long when they pose a threat to ocean wildlife and human health,” tweeted Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California). “The federal government and California must address this toxic waste. The Biden administration has indicated it’s interested in taking action and I’m grateful for their attention. With help from NOAA, Scripps, DOD, UC Santa Barbara and others, it’s time to act.”


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