Term chemical pollution primarily refers to a form of water pollution caused by presence of different harmful chemicals in water bodies.
The list of chemical pollutants is big and among other includes pesticides, pharmaceuticals, different industrial chemicals such as solvents, flame retardants and plastic softeners, etc.
Chemical pollution of water bodies can cause huge damage to our environment because many of these pollutants are highly poisonous and can in the worst case scenario wipe out entire aquatic ecosystems.
The world still hasn’t come up with the adequate monitoring system despite the fact that the global chemical pollution continues to grow because of the many "new" pollutants which have entered use in recent years.
The current methods of periodically taking samples to determine chemical concentrations in water, sediments and biota have proved to be inadequate and provide only a small part of the picture.
Chemical pollution is even spreading to Arctic and Antarctica because of increased shipping in these areas. Chemical pollutants cause even bigger damage to these areas because their degradation is much slower in colder environment. The maritime chemical transport has more than tripled in the past 20 years.
Chemical pollutants in water can easily enter food chain and cause not only damage to many animals but also to humans.
The worst type of chemical pollution is when people dump toxic waste into rivers, lakes, sea and oceans. A large part of global toxic waste ends up in our oceans where it destroys marine life.
Our industry and agriculture are the two main sources of chemical pollution.
Oil spill is also a form of chemical pollution. Oil spills are responsible for death of many fish species. Oil also sticks to the feathers of seabirds, eventually leading to their deaths.
Chemical pollution is becoming particularly worrying issue in developing countries such as China and India because thousands of their companies continue to dump untreated industrial wastewater filled with different toxic materials and other chemicals in rivers. In China, for instance, more than 40% of their rivers are considered unsafe for drinking.
The adverse health effects caused by chemical pollution are eye, nose and throat irritation, headache, allergic skin reaction, dizziness, nausea, and difficulty breathing. In worst cases (long term exposure to chemical pollution) it can even lead to cancer.
The scientists have estimated that there is more than 70,000 chemicals currently in common use and that this number is increasing by approximately 1,000 new chemicals each year.
In order to reduce level of global chemical pollution world needs to reduce the generation of waste and ensure environmentally safe waste disposal, ensure better monitoring and adequate laws as well as ensure improved level of care when using different chemicals for agriculture and industry such as for instance pesticides.