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Document Type

Book Chapter


Virginia Institute of Marine Science


Mason, W. T. and K. C. Flynn, eds

Publication Date


Book Title

The Potomac Estuary. Biology Resources, Trends and Options. Proceedings of a Symposium; Alexandria, Virginia; 1975.


Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin


If one looks back over the past twenty-five years, at the pollution crises which have made the headlines and influenced our decision making policies on both local and national levels, one may note a very interesting aspect. That is, the crises are often associated with the development of new and more sensitive types of analytical instrumentation. Several examples of this readily come to mind: for example, it wasn't until the development of electron capture detection for gas chromatography that DDT really became a crisis. The reason is quite simple: the concentrations which were being accumulated by the organisms were below detection limits of most available instrumentation. Another example is mercury. The advent of atomic absorption spectrophotometry and the refinement of the the flameless method for mercury allowed the mercury problem to be investigated. New instrumentation doesn't cause the crisis, it merely finds it.

Publication Statement

p 58-60.

Methods for measuring ecosystem stress