Killing them softly....Health effects in Arctic wildlife linked to chemical exposures. Full report & summary

Posted on 15 June 2006  | 
Imagine a region where the sun is hardly seen for months at a time, while during other months the sun never sets, a region where snow and ice are essential to life.

The Arctic is a beautiful but unforgiving and harsh environment that, in some areas, resembles a frozen desert. Every possible advantage and fine-tuned adaptation is needed for animals and people to successfully call this region home. But amazingly, the Arctic is a region full of life. It is the home to hares, lemmings, birds, wolverines, reindeer, caribou, musk oxen, seals, walrus, whales, arctic foxes, wolves, and polar bears. Today the Arctic is inhabited by about 4 million people.

Despite its remote location, the Arctic is still affected by distant pollution. Of special concern are the volatile manmade industrial and agricultural chemicals that travel north to the Arctic largely via air and water currents. Global use and production of chemicals is increasing, meaning that arctic environmental contamination will increase in the future.

In February 2005, WWF highlighted the presence and levels of toxic chemicals in the Arctic. Now, this new report focuses on what is known about actual health problems in arctic mammals and birds linked to chemical exposures.

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