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Polychlorinated biphenyls are heavy, syrupy hydrocarbons that were fir

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Polychlorinated biphenyls are heavy, syrupy hydrocarbons that were fir  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Feb 2018, 14:42
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Polychlorinated biphenyls are heavy, syrupy hydrocarbons that were first synthesized in the 1880s. Because they conduct heat but not electricity and are water-insoluble, fire-resistant, and extremely stable (withstanding temperatures of up to 1600° F), they were found, in the 1930s, to be extremely useful as components in cooling systems and electrical equipment (transformers and capacitors). They were widely used for these purposes and also in the composition of sealants, rubber, paints, plastics, inks, and insecticides.

PCBs were banned in 1979, after researchers linked them to cancer and developmental problems in humans. However, PCBs persist in the environment for extremely long periods. Because of an affinity for fat, they have a marked tendency to accumulate in living organisms; increasing in concentration as they move up the food chain.

At sites where dumping of chemical wastes had occurred, such as warehouses, landfills, and even rivers, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous wastes still remained. To locate, investigate, and clean up the worst of these sites nationwide, Congress in 1980 established the Superfund Program, administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Due to dumping over a period of 35 years by two capacitor manufacturing plants located along the northern part of the Hudson River in New York State, EPA has estimated that 1.1 million pounds of PCBs have accumulated.

Field surveys of the river have found substantial contamination in 40 submerged sediment ―hot spots,‖ 5 exposed shoreline remnant deposits, dredge spoils on riverbanks, and estuary sediments. Today, because of PCB contamination, human consumption of fish caught in the most affected areas of the Hudson River is prohibited. But, while fish consumption remains the most potent route of PCB exposure, exposure can also occur through other routes. Eight municipalities currently draw drinking water from the Hudson and another, New York City, draws it during emergencies.

EPA‘s report recommending dredging indicates that, due to opposition of local residents, neither a landfill nor a thermal treatment facility (for high temperature incineration) can be locally-sighted and the PCBs should therefore be transported to a solid waste landfill outside of the area. The report does not, however, identify a specific location.

Furthermore, air along the river contains elevated concentrations of PCBs, and individuals living along the River show PCB residue in their bodies, paralleling the river's contamination. The EPA has recommended that PCBs be removed from the river bottom by dredging, thus reducing contamination and possibly eventually permitting revitalization of commercial fishing, which once generated $40 million income annually. However, the corporation blamed for the dumping argues that dredging may ―stir up‖ the PCBs (which they describe as now ―lying undisturbed‖ in the riverbed), causing the water, air, and riverbanks to become even more contaminated. Some area residents echo these concerns and also argue that dredging will subject them to years of unacceptable noise, disruption, and curtailed recreational activities.

1. Based on information provided by the author of the passage, it can be inferred from the passage that PCBs are:

I. heavier than water.
II. toxic to fish
III. readily biodegradable.
A. I only
B. I and II only
C. I and III only
D. II and III only
E. I, II and III


2. According to the passage, the EPA differs from local residents and the company responsible for PCB contamination in that it affirms that it bases its recommended action on benefit to:

A. commercial fishing interests.
B. residential interests.
C. the environment as a whole.
D. recreational activities.
E. the general American populace


3. It can be inferred from the passage that the justification used for prohibiting individuals from consuming fish caught in contaminated sections of the Hudson River is that the individuals may thereby:

A. reduce the level of PCBs in their bodies.
B. avoid any further increase in the level of PCBs in their bodies.
C. mitigate the accumulation of PCBs in their bodies.
D. prevent cancer and developmental problems.
E. cause a reduction in their health insurance premium


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Re: Polychlorinated biphenyls are heavy, syrupy hydrocarbons that were fir  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Feb 2018, 02:40
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Responding to a P.M.
OE for Q3.
3) Why are individuals prohibited from eating fish from contaminated areas of the Hudson? Review the mechanism described in ¶2: PCBs increase in concentration as they move up the food chain, and so eating fish from contaminated areas would increase the PCB concentration in the person eating the fish. It can be inferred that the fish ban is in place to prevent this from happening; (C) fits.

(A): Distortion. Though not eating the fish may reduce the rate of increase in PCB concentration, there‘s no indication that simply avoiding contaminated fish will reduce PCB concentration overall.

(B): Distortion. As above, though not eating the fish will reduce the rate of increase, this doesn‘t mean that it will eliminate the increase altogether; there are still other possible sources of contamination.

(C): The correct answer

(D): Distortion. Simply reducing the rate of increase won‘t necessarily eliminate all risk factors for cancer and developmental problems, which could come from any number of sources, non-fish-borne PCBs included.

(E): Health insurance premium outside the scope of the passage


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Polychlorinated biphenyls are heavy, syrupy hydrocarbons that were fir  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Feb 2018, 05:50
Its infact directly stated in the Second paragraph last line ,
PCBs can get accumulated in living organism as they move up in the food chain.
The passage never states that the level of PCB or so,
hence the answer clearly is C

Because of an affinity for fat, they have a marked tendency to accumulate in living organisms;
increasing in concentration as they move up the food chain.


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Re: Polychlorinated biphenyls are heavy, syrupy hydrocarbons that were fir  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Feb 2018, 18:51
Please comment on the reasoning on Q3.

It can be inferred from the passage that the justification used for prohibiting individuals from consuming fish caught in contaminated sections of the Hudson River is that the individuals may thereby:

A. reduce the level of PCBs in their bodies.
Because of an affinity for fat, they have a marked tendency to accumulate in living organisms; increasing in concentration as they move up the food chain.
Furthermore, air along the river contains elevated concentrations of PCBs, and individuals living along the River show PCB residue in their bodies, paralleling the river's contamination.

Explanation:
B. avoid any further increase in the level of PCBs in their bodies.
Explanation: . Because of an affinity for fat, they have a marked tendency to accumulate in living organisms; increasing in concentration as they move up the food chain.
ie. Human is the last of the food chain, so it will not increase the level of PCB.

C. mitigate the accumulation of PCBs in their bodies.
Explanation: .
Because of an affinity for fat, they have a marked tendency to accumulate in living organisms; increasing in concentration as they move up the food chain.
Furthermore, air along the river contains elevated concentrations of PCBs, and individuals living along the River show PCB residue in their bodies, paralleling the river's contamination.
ie. PCB can be obtained from other sources, therefore, if human does not consume fish that is contaminated; the action will reduced the level of PCB in the body.

D. prevent cancer and developmental problems.
Does not explicitly mentioned that it will prevent cancer and developmental problems

E. cause a reduction in their health insurance premium
Not mentioned in the passage
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Re: Polychlorinated biphenyls are heavy, syrupy hydrocarbons that were fir  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Mar 2018, 11:04
Didn't really understand why the answer to Q.2 is A. The passage says that " The EPA has recommended that PCBs be removed from the river bottom by dredging, thus reducing contamination and POSSIBLY eventually permitting revitalization of commercial fishing". Clearly the commercial fishing revitalization isn't the main motive behind this.
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Re: Polychlorinated biphenyls are heavy, syrupy hydrocarbons that were fir  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Mar 2018, 07:44
Can someone help with q1? I could find support that refute 2 and 3 but what about 1?

Guess worked for A, overall all correct . What are the chances of seeing such long passages in actual GMAT?

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Re: Polychlorinated biphenyls are heavy, syrupy hydrocarbons that were fir &nbs [#permalink] 28 Mar 2018, 07:44
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