As the heavier debris from the March 2011 tsunami that struck Japan makes its way across the Pacific Ocean, scientists warn of the ecological threat of toxic, chemical debris headed towards North America's western coast.
Chemical contamination "could be a real threat," Dr. M. Sanjayan, the lead scientist at conservation group the Nature Conservancy, tells CBC News. "Finding one drum of, say, paint thinner, or something you might find in your garage, it's not hugely toxic. But if you find 50 of them all washed up on a rocky shore and then breaking and leaking, then you have some problems."
"This is more hazardous than oil," Chris Pallister of the Gulf of Alaska Keeper Organization warns the Homer Tribune. "Entire communities went into the ocean â€” industrial, household chemicals, anything you can think of in your garage â€” and it's all coming here. This is like a great big toxic spill that is widely dispersed."