Contaminants
A wide range of man-made chemicals designed for use in industry, 
agriculture, pest control, consumer goods and emissions
from the combustion of fossil fuels are the main contaminant-sources
for diffuse pollution.
Anthropogenic compounds are continuously released into 
the environment and transported over short and long distances
from local to the global scale. Experts are surprised by
how quickly some substances spread and how they suddenly
appear in soil, water, animals, and humans. Diffuse distribution
of chemicals is ubiquitous. It occurs in urban sprawl as
well as in rural regions. For instance, persistent organic
compounds such as flame retardants widely used in products
of daily life (i.e. furniture, computers) are found already
in wildlife (seals, polar bears) and humans of the artic
region. Pesticides are found in soils and aquifers worldwide.
Large areas of urban soils have accumulated heavy metals
at levels far above precautionary limits. Elevated concentrations
of carcinogenic hydrocarbons from incomplete combustion
processes (heating, traffic) are not only found in highly
industrialised regions but also in forest soils of remote
areas. Due to their chemical properties, such persistent
compounds gradually accumulate in soils even if the input
rates are low.
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