Myneni, SCB. 2002. “Formation of stable chlorinated hydrocarbons in weathering plant material.” Science 295: 1039-1041.
Though several chlorinated organic compounds produced by humans are carcinogenic and toxic, some are also produced by the biotic and abiotic processes in the environment. In situ x-ray spectroscopy data indicate that natural organic matter in soils, sediments, and natural waters contain stable, less volatile organic compounds with chlorinated phenolic and aliphatic groups as the principal Cl forms. These compounds are formed at rapid rates from the transformation of inorganic Cl during humification of plant material and, thus, play a critical role in the cycling of Cl and of several major and trace elements in the environment and may influence human health.