Contaminants in the age of the anthropocene
This chapter was written as the introduction to the contaminants’ volume of the “Encyclopedia of the Anthropocene” to be published in late 2017. Individual chapters from the encyclopedia, including this one, will be made available also under the “Earth Sciences and Environmental Systems” online module of Elsevier. Therefore, this introduction will depart from the usual introductory format and will not specifically reference chapter titles that comprise the encyclopedia volume; this is because you, the reader, may be looking at this article in isolation without the benefit of the full line-up of chapters, which comprised the encyclopedia. What this article will do is provide an overview of why the Anthropocene has been a period distinguished by a proliferation of anthropogenic chemicals and some of the singular threats this represents to our species and our planet. If you are reading this as part of the “Encyclopedia of the Anthropocene,” please note that most of the examples I provide are detailed in the subsequent chapters.