Polar bear plight worsens as toxins reach the Arctic

By Lewis Smith, Environment Reporter http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2226227,00.html

POLAR bears and other Arctic animals are being poisoned in their thousands by man-made chemicals, the wildlife charity WWF has said.

The chemicals are causing serious health problems for wildlife that dramatically reduces its chances of survival in the Arctic environment.

Whales, seals and polar bears are among those found with heightened levels of chemicals in their bodies, according to the WWF report. Effects include suppressed immune systems, weakened and deformed skeletons, cancers, vitamin deficiency and changes in behaviour.

Elizabeth Salter Green, the director of WWF-UK’s toxics programme, said: “What we are seeing here is a mass contamination of Arctic wildlife. We believe it is making these animals less capable of surviving the harsh Arctic conditions and the impacts of climate change. The survival of wild animal populations is threatened.

“Chemical contamination of our environment is spiralling out of control because of poor global chemicals regulation. The Arctic ecosystem is being ravaged by chemicals.”

Chemicals found in Arctic mammals and birds include DDT and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are widely banned but can remain locked in ice for decades. Among those in use today and found contaminating the wildlife are perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), used in non-stick coatings for saucepans, which have been linked to neonatal mortality and respiratory problems. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers
(PBDEs), widely used as flame retardants, are also found in high levels.

The report, Killing Them Softly, analysed a series of scientific studies into a range of Arctic creatures to establish what effects contamination had. The WWF concluded that the problem is so severe that, taken in conjunction with other threats, such as the melting ice, extinction is only a matter of time for some species.

Polar bears are already predicted to die out in a century. Most of the contamination is carried from the industrialised world to the Arctic by air and sea currents.

Predator species, such as polar bears and sea lions, are severely affected because their bodies absorb contaminants within food, such as fish.Other animals suffering high levels of toxins include hares, lemmings, wolverines, caribou, walrus, wolves, foxes and reindeer.

PCB levels are so high in polar bears that they could affect their chances of reproducing, and organochlorines reduce their ability to produce the antibodies needed to fight off infections.

Beluga whales have been especially hard hit. Some carcasses are so contaminated “that their bodies are treated as toxic waste”. They have a cancer rate higher than any other wild animal population.

The WWF, launching its report today, is calling on industrialised nations, especially in the European Union, to impose strict controls on chemicals to prevent them getting into the ecosystem. The EU is planning legislation but the WWF fears that it will be watered down under pressure from industry.

Professor Julian Dowdeswell, director of the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University said: “One thinks of the Arctic as a pristine environment. It isn’t. There are all sorts of contaminants carried by the ocean currents and air masses which can disperse them at very high latitudes.

“These contaminants move up the food chain. The way these things appear to be taken into the Arctic food chain is definitely detrimental.”


Polar bears: impaired immune system, altered hormone production, weaker bones

Seals and sea lions: skeletal deformities, skin diseases, cancers, breeding problems, altered hormone production

Beluga whales: cancers, infections, reproductive problems

Birds: changed behaviour when sitting on eggs, reduced immunity

Informant: binstock


Independent Media Source

User Status

Du bist nicht angemeldet.



Aktuelle Beiträge

Trump and His Allies...
https://www.commondreams.o rg/views/2022/06/21/trump- and-his-allies-are-clear-a nd-present-danger-american -democracy?utm_source=dail y_newsletter&utm_medium=Em ail&utm_campaign=daily_new sletter_op
rudkla - 22. Jun, 05:09
The Republican Party...
https://truthout.org/artic les/the-republican-party-i s-still-doing-donald-trump s-bidding/?eType=EmailBlas tContent&eId=804d4873-50dd -4c1b-82a5-f465ac3742ce
rudkla - 26. Apr, 05:36
January 6 Committee Says...
https://truthout.org/artic les/jan-6-committee-says-t rump-engaged-in-criminal-c onspiracy-to-undo-election /?eType=EmailBlastContent& eId=552e5725-9297-4a7c-a21 4-53c8c51615a3
rudkla - 4. Mär, 05:38
Georgia Republicans Are...
https://www.commondreams.o rg/views/2022/02/14/georgi a-republicans-are-delibera tely-attacking-voting-righ ts
rudkla - 15. Feb, 05:03
Now Every Day Is January...
https://www.commondreams.o rg/views/2022/02/07/now-ev ery-day-january-6-trump-ta rgets-vote-counters
rudkla - 8. Feb, 05:41


Juni 2006


Online seit 6772 Tagen
Zuletzt aktualisiert: 22. Jun, 05:09


Animal Protection - Tierschutz
AUFBRUCH für Bürgerrechte, Freiheit und Gesundheit
Big Brother - NWO
Care2 Connect
Civil Rights - Buergerrechte - Politik
Cuts in Social Welfare - Sozialabbau
Death Penalty - Todesstrafe
Depleted Uranium Poisoning (D.U.)
Disclaimer - Haftungsausschluss
... weitere
Weblog abonnieren