Catalytic converters are supposed to clean up car exhaust and prevent air pollution, but new research shows that they are polluting the atmosphere instead. Italian and French researchers have found dangerous heavy metals from converters far away from their sources, in remote regions of Greenland.

“The fact that we found the metals in Greenland means that it’s a global problem. It’s not just close to the cities or the highways,” says Carlo Barbante, a chemist at the University of Venice.

“The have broken new ground,” says Seth Dunn, of the Worldwatch Institute, a Washington environmental group. “The implications could be very significant in terms of human health.”
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