NASC joins international study of the occurrence of silicones in the Antarctic

NASC joins international study of the occurrence of silicones in the Antarctic

Ukrainian scientists will take part in a study of the possible occurrence of silicones in the Antarctic. This is stipulated by the cooperation agreement signed between the National Antarctic Scientific Center and Silicones Europe, a non-profit trade organisation representing all major producers of silicones in Europe.

The study is devoted to cyclic volatile methyl siloxanes. This particular group of silicone liquids is often used in personal care products such as shampoos, cosmetics, and deodorants and in industrial applications such as dry-cleaning solvents and industrial cleaning fluids.

Since these substances are widely used, it is important to assess the level of their distribution in the environment. Studying whether they are present in the Antarctic will help us understand if these silicones are transported by air and water over long distances.

As part of the project, the following samples are planned to be collected on and around the Antarctic Peninsula (near the Vernadsky station):

  • Air, using special traps;
  • Bottom sediments;
  • Phytoplankton and krill in ocean waters from the Ukrainian research vessel “Noosfera”;
  • Antarctic soils and mosses.

Similar research will also be conducted by the Polish Antarctic Program near their Arctowski station.

It is planned that in May all the samples will be sent to Norway. There, scientists will analyze whether and in what concentrations the identified silicone liquids are present. By the end of 2024, it is expected to have the initial results of the research.

Under the agreement, Silicone Europe will purchase a lot of necessary scientific equipment for high-quality sampling for the NASC. Moreover, Ukrainian scientists will gain new experience in international cooperation for the global goal of preventing pollution of our Planet. And we will certainly keep you posted on the progress of this project.