Old chemical munitions threaten Baltic Sea

The head of the International Dialogue of Underwater Munitions warned at a conference last week that it is only a matter of time before corroding chemical weapons in the Baltic Sea begin to leak.

Head of the International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions Terrance Long made his dire warning at a conference held at the Environment Ministry in Warsaw, Poland, last week, TheNews.pl reports.

Corroding weaponry could potentially start leaking out, spreading toxins in the Baltic Sea that would then contaminate reservoirs and pass hazards to humans and the environment.

Recent research has already revealed that toxins from the World War II chemical may already be affecting marine life in the Baltic Sea.

Finnish researchers said that toxins leaking from the chemical munitions may be poisoning nearby mussels and codfish. Testing is currently underway to determine the extent of the damage and whether the toxins found in marine life are chemical warfare agents or some other pollutant, according to HS.fi.

Scientists say there is a potentially huge poison bomb lying at the bottom of the Baltic Sea as a result of the tens of thousands of tons of hazardous substances dumped there at the end of the war. Corrosive gasses, arsenic compounds and nerve agent munitions were all sent to the bottom of the sea.

Some of the chemicals will ultimately decompose in the water or inside the aquatic life, but some can accumulate in the fatty tissue of fish that may ultimately be eaten by humans.