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Polar Bears Face New Toxic Threat: Flame Retardants

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posted on Jan, 9 2006 @ 12:10 PM
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Polar Bears Face New Toxic Threat: Flame Retardants

Already imperiled by melting ice and a brew of toxic chemicals, polar bears throughout the Arctic, particularly in remote dens near the North Pole, face an additional threat as flame retardants originating largely in the United States are building up in their bodies, according to an international team of wildlife scientists.

The flame retardants are one of the newest additions to hundreds of industrial compounds and pesticides carried to the Arctic by northbound winds and ocean currents. Accumulating in the fatty tissues of animals, many chemicals grow more concentrated as larger creatures eat smaller ones, turning the Arctic's top predators and native people into some of the most contaminated living organisms on Earth.

In urban areas, particularly in North America, researchers already have shown that levels of flame retardants called polybrominated diphenyls, or PBDEs, are growing at a rapid pace in people and wildlife. Although they have been found in much lower concentrations in the Arctic, scientists say their toxic legacy will persist there for years because they are slow to break down, particularly in cold climates.

more...





I had no idea...

"turning the Arctic's top predators and native people into some of the most contaminated living organisms on Earth." :shk:

This article is a great read.


[edit on 9-1-2006 by loam]




posted on Jan, 9 2006 @ 01:23 PM
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loam - I know contaminants tend to show up in the Arctic in concentrated forms but I can't remember why. Do you have a handy quick rundown?



posted on Jan, 9 2006 @ 01:50 PM
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One of the main reasons for the problems the Arctic region faces is the lack of sunlight to break down these chemicals. These pollutants come from all around the world and end up in the polar regions, especially the Arctic since the northern hemisphere is so much more industrialized.


teacher.scholastic.com...

The consensus now is that pollutants from around the world are being carried north by rivers, ocean currents and atmospheric circulation. Due to extreme conditions in the Arctic, including reduced sunlight, extensive ice cover and cold temperatures, contaminants break down much more slowly than in warmer climates.


Hope this helps...



posted on Jan, 10 2006 @ 09:50 AM
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Originally posted by loam
I had no idea...

"turning the Arctic's top predators and native people into some of the most contaminated living organisms on Earth." :shk:


Reminds me of something an old rasta man in a wheelchair, with long grey dreds told me last year: "The most polluted places on earth are the grave yards of man."

The process is technically labeled Bioaccumulation & Biomagnification. If the subject interests you, do a Google search... but be sure to have a cup of kava kava ready. In short... each time you move up on the food chain the parts per million of pollutants per pound of body mass increases exponentially. "The meek shall inherit the earth."

The other term which would constitute good background Google searching is "Corporate Externality". Have fun with that one... and refill your kava mug.

Vegetarian,

Sri Oracle

The water that comes out of my tap is privatized... is yours? Think not? Apply for a permit to collect rainwater to share with your neighbors and watch what happens.



posted on Jan, 11 2006 @ 12:57 AM
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Smokey would have loved a gallon of flame retardant......

But now it's killing his northern cousins.

loam points out a very sad future for Canada's north. Not only is the north becoming more polluted, but it's warming up. The polar bear will be only seen in pictures in the future because the species is on the brink.

Very sad..........



posted on Jan, 12 2006 @ 08:57 PM
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More disturbing news...




Scientists look for link with hermaphrodite Arctic polar bears


The British newspaper The Independent reported today that scientists are following a link between flame-retardants and hermaphroditism in Arctic polar bears. Researchers found the chemical, known as polybrominated diphenyls, or PBDE, in the fatty tissues of polar bears, predominantly in Greenland and Norway.


Scientists blame pollution for the appearance of both male and female sex organs in about one in 50 female bears in Norway's Svalbard islands.



:shk:

Yikes!



posted on Jan, 12 2006 @ 11:07 PM
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Originally posted by anxietydisorder
Smokey would have loved a gallon of flame retardant......


Different chemical. The retardants used on forest fires are various formulations of ammonia phosphate or ammonia sulfate. Fertilizers that break down rapidly in the soil. The red color is iron oxide and the thickener is ordinary clay. Forest fire retardants are designed to be as environmentally benign as possible.



posted on Feb, 8 2006 @ 08:46 AM
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Feds Move to Protect Polar Bears

The federal government on Tuesday took the first step toward listing the polar bear as a threatened species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said protection may be warranted under the Endangered Species Act, triggering a review process that could lead to its listing.


So much could be said here, but I'll leave the article to speak for itself.



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