DDT and some heavy metals are long-lived pollutants which may be retained in sedimentary layers and may be relocated by post-depositional biological or mechanical processes. Because DDT has a half life of up to 17 yr and it is concentrated in higher ecological levels, even a few parts per billion in the sedimentary substrate can be harmful to wildlife. The potential danger and the persistence of many long-lived pollutants create a genuine need for environmental studies made by geologists.

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